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Stop Faking Service Dogs (outsideonline.com)
280 points by nether on Sept 5, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 250 comments



Some of the other comments seem to miss vital information in the article.

ESAs (emotional support animals) are not the same thing as service dogs[1]. There's debate about whether they're even effective[2].

Not only does this mean that people with ESAs likely don't need their dog as much as people with service dogs, it also means ESAs don't have the same legal protections. The only places that are required to accept ESAs are airplanes.

In any other context, only service dogs are protected.

1. From the article: "The [Americans with Disabilities Act] states, 'dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.'"

2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/07/02/t...


Here is the problem - you are a restaurant owner and someone walks in with a dog wearing some sort of blue or red vest with an official looking logo. What do you do? If it is a real service animal, you don't want to grill the poor disabled person for the dogs paperwork, you want to be a good guy, so you do nothing, and bunch of dog owners abuse that goodwill by bringing their dogs places they shouldn't.


You aren't allowed to ask for paper work anyway. Here is all they are allowed to ask: "A public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform." See section f at https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/35.136

That said, just asking people with apparently inappropriate dogs what task the animal has been trained to perform would be a first step towards removing fake service animals. If they can't answer, I assume there is something you can do, but I don't know what that is exactly. It may depend on your state.

In the case of a specifically badly behaving fake (or even real) service animals, section b of the same document says: "A public entity may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if - (1) The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it; or (2) The animal is not housebroken.", so a dog barking or pooping in a business can definitely be ordered removed.


Yeah, that's a public entity, which is:

"Public entity means -

(1) Any State or local government;

(2) Any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government; and

(3) The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and any commuter authority (as defined in section 103(8) of the Rail Passenger Service Act)."


This appears to be the wrong law to be citing.

I believe the ADA is https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/chapter-126


Ding ding ding! This is the first fact that everyone I know in SF that abuses ESAs 'licenses' whips out.


a private business can ask if an animal is service dog:

[1]Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person's disability.

[1]https://www.ada.gov/archive/svcanimb.htm


Thank god one lawmaker had the for thought to consider edge cases. The law seems entirely unreasonable until you get to the last paragraph.


Exactly this. The more you learn about the faking, the more suspect legit owners become and then it becomes a hassle.

I find it mildly annoying to see dogs in restaurants and grocery stores, even more so in the work place, but I've heard of a lot of people abusing these laws here in LA to be able to get into apartment buildings that don't allow pets.

As a neighbor, if you're animal isn't well-trained, I don't want to live near it in an apartment building. Were I someone allergic to pet dander, I wouldn't want to unknowingly live somewhere that a dog/cat had lived for years no matter how well you cleaned it. Especially at the expense we have to pay for rent in this city.

I think taejo has it right in her/his comment about how US owners act about this stuff:

"I don't think this would fly in the US, where cultural attitudes tend to be less "we've all got to do our bit to make society pleasant for everyone" and more "it's a free country and this is my dog, I'll train it if I want to"."


The solution to that has to do with circumstance. Is the dog behaving fine? Then who cares? If its not, you get a manager and they ask if the dog is required, citing the problem. I don't see a need of doing all of this when every dog walks in.


By the time you need to fetch a manager to get them to inquire about the dog, it's too late: the damage has already been done.


If nothing else, it is cheating and unfair to people who are respecting the law. Imagine it isn't finding a loophole where you can pay to get your dog in a restaurant, but a loophole where you can pay to get your child into a better school. Society works better when we all follow the same rules.


[flagged]


Please stop violating the guidelines.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


One of the major points in the article is that there are no papers, and even if there were, the law doesn't require the owner to explain himself beyond saying what specific task the dog is trained to do.


It's quite likely that just asking that one question would be enough to screen out most fake service dogs. An ESA has not been trained to do any task and an answer along the lines of "It's been trained to comfort me." does not meet the ADA definition.


>just asking that one question would be enough to screen out most fake service dogs

This seems to be true. About a week ago I witnessed my boss question someone on if their dog was a service animal. He was adamant that it was but his demeanor betrayed himself.

I never saw someone get so maliciously defensive before, the person had to be told to leave because of his attitude from that point on. He actually called back and threatened my boss (on voicemail!) some time after leaving.

That one simple question blew him out of the water. Dog seemed nice despite his owner, but it didn't seem to be doing anything but dogging about.


And it is forbidden to ask more than if the individual has a disability and what task the dog is trained to perform. There can be nothing more discussed and denial of service to a disabled individual who is accompanied by a service dog (not the same as an ESA) comes with a huge fine but terrible public relations when it hits social media.


Read the article -- there is no such thing as "papers" and asking for them is illegal.


asking for papers is illegal.


papers, please


What I don't understand about ESAs especially on airplanes are what about people who are scared of dogs and who have issues w/ dogs?

Personally, if there was a dog on a plane I was flying that would make me extremely uncomfortable and nervous.


You can't request that a legitimate service animal be removed because you're afraid of it, you're only option is to get your own service animal to keep the dogs at bay, e.g. a Tiger. Such is the MAD doctrine of service animals.


Not to mention, there's a non-insignificant portion of the population that's allergic. Generally it's not life threatening but most commonly it'll lead to cold like symptoms (nose/head congestion, trouble sleeping).


My ex had narcolepsy and had a service dog to help her. She (the service dog) did a number of things for her including detecting and alerting her to an oncoming cataplectic attack, giving her a little extra time to get somewhere safe. Her training was extensive and very expensive and she was incredibly well behaved. She was a ten pound miniature poodle though (my ex was allergic to dogs and poodles are naturally somewhat hypoallergenic (also very smart)) so she faced a lot of skepticism. Seeing what she went through on a regular basis, the fake service dog trend that's arisen since has really annoyed me.

On another note, I've been living in Europe and the UK for the last few years and one of the interesting cultural differences I've noticed is how common it is over here to just allow dogs in restaurants and pubs and on public transportation. That seems to be the default and only some places have "no dogs allowed" signs up. If the US would take a similar approach, maybe people wouldn't feel the need to fake service animal status.


> I've noticed is how common it is over here to just allow dogs in restaurants and pubs and on public transportation. That seems to be the default and only some places have "no dogs allowed" signs up. If the US would take a similar approach, maybe people wouldn't feel the need to fake service animal status.

A culture of allowing dogs in these places needs to go hand in hand with a culture of training dogs extremely well (and not taking advantage of the facilities that allow dogs, if you don't manage to train yours). Dogs in Germany are almost a different species to those in some other countries; the number of times I've heard dogs barking in the last year could very possibly be counted on one finger, despite seeing many more dogs than in other places.

I don't think this would fly in the US, where cultural attitudes tend to be less "we've all got to do our bit to make society pleasant for everyone" and more "it's a free country and this is my dog, I'll train it if I want to".


Same in France. For all the dogs around me, humans seem invisble. At least until you explicitly let the dog, at which point he look s at you as if christmas came early.

An hour ago I was walking back home from a restaurant and a dog looked at me, well until I realized that there was a bird or something behind me. They are indeed an alien breed once here.


It is amazing. The only tradeoff is that German strangers tend to get upset if you try to pet their dogs or get their attention.


Why is that a trade-off?


It's fun to play with other people's dogs.


As someone who is allergic to dogs, I appreciate that they're not permitted in many places in the US (especially restaurants). Actual service animals, as you point out, are incredibly well behaved, but I've definitely been subject to a fake service animal jumping at my lap while seated at a restaurant. Not my favorite thing in the world.

If people would actually train their dogs not to be disruptive, I'd mind less. But in my experience, most dogs are rowdy, annoying, and don't keep to themselves even after being instructed to do so by their owners.


This is entirely anecdotal, but in my experience Californian dog owners don't exercise their dogs as much as British dog owners would, resulting in generally rowdier dogs. Your experience of "most dogs are rowdy, annoying, and don't keep to themselves" is something I've encountered more on the West Coast than I do at home in the UK so maybe that's a contributing factor.


This can be a side effect of not being able to take the dogs on walks to destinations. If my workplace was not dog friendly, my dog would get much less "free" walking due to not walking to/from the train.

I would need to walk the dog more, which for a lot of people isn't going to happen (pick your reason).


I live in Edinburgh - practically every bar here allows dogs. To give an anecdote against your anecdote, I can't think of one occasion where a dog in a bar was behaving any way less than perfect. Most of them curl up under the table, and come out when someone walks by and rubs them.

I could make the same point about children, FWIW. Most children are rowdy annoying and don't keep to themselves even after being instructed to do so by their owners. Should children be banned from all restaurants?


They are banned from some: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/03/31/thank...

There are more than 1 million restaurants in the United States and the majority of them welcome families with children.

So much this. Kids won't appreciate the wine pairing. Reservations increased. I'd love more options for 21 dining, and I'm obviously not alone in this. I really don't understand the outage at establishments which choose to enforce these types of rules when there are so many other places to go.


Sure, and there are plenty of places where they are welcome. I don't expect to go eat in a Michelin star restaurant and be seated next to a family of four having an evening out. Equally, if I go to a bar on a Saturday night, I don't expect to be seated next to a dog that doesn't want to be there.

There's room for both, but my tongue in cheek point was supposed to be that dogs tend to be better behaved in bars/restaurants (in my anecdotal experience)


> I live in Edinburgh - practically every bar here allows dogs. To give an anecdote against your anecdote, I can't think of one occasion where a dog in a bar was behaving any way less than perfect. Most of them curl up under the table, and come out when someone walks by and rubs them.

I also live in Edinburgh, and my experience is the same as maccard's.


I wonder if your experience is fueled by a similar disparity as a sibling poster -- that dogs in the UK tend to get much more exercise than those in California, so they tend to be calmer.

> Should children be banned from all restaurants?

I wouldn't have a problem with that. Kidding aside, as much as some people would like to suggest otherwise, dogs are not people. Children are, and IMO that gives them more of a leg to stand on when bringing them places where dogs might not be allowed, even if dogs are likely to be more trainable than children (even if, in my experience, most dog owners I see have done an abysmal job at training their dogs).


> Should children be banned from all restaurants?

Children are obviously different, because they're a necessary part of a functioning society. Banning parents from all places not explicitly designed for children seems cruel and, in more practical terms, will further reduce the number of people willing to shoulder the burdens of parenthood.

I'm also convinced that children derive great benefits from spending time in the company of adults other than their parents. To quote one of the Greeks: "It takes a village to raise a child".

Yes, you can make an argument for human self-extinction. But that's a separate debate.


> people willing to shoulder the burdens of parenthood

Have you seen idiocracy?

> an argument for human self-extinction

I don't follow this logic. Are you saying that by excluding children from restaurants we would increase the risk of human extinction?


So crate the kids and train dogs better. Got it!


>"I could make the same point about children, FWIW. Most children are rowdy annoying and don't keep to themselves even after being instructed to do so by their owners. Should children be banned from all restaurants?"

If children are misbehaving a parent can speak to them sternly and discipline them in a language they are able understand. And often times a parent will take a child outside until they calm down.

Have you ever watched the futility and absurdity of a dog owner tell a dog to stop barking?


Wait - we're talking about dogs barking in restaurants? If this happens (I have literally never seen it) it certainly happens less often than babies crying.

I've seen people successfully halt their dog from barking outside (by issuing commands, or a tap on the nose) and I have watched (with deepest sympathy - I don't begrudge it at all, some day it'll be me) the futility of some parents trying to calm a screaming kid.

If someone doesn't like dogs in restaurants on the basis of hygeine or allergies then I understand, but noise would be a really weird reason.


>"Wait - we're talking about dogs barking in restaurants? If this happens (I have literally never seen it) it certainly happens less often than babies crying."

Yes for example, almost anywhere where there is al fresco seating in New York City will have dogs owners who bring their dogs along and invariably one of those dogs will start barking as there's shortage of stimulus. It is not at all uncommon.

see:

https://www.bringfido.com/restaurant/city/new_york_ny_us/


In both cases (dogs and children), it relies on the grown up giving a shit (or at the very least being aware of their surroundings and context), _and_ having the skills to deal with the dog/child. The latter point requires a lot of ground work (training) to have been established over the years. Yes, it is possible to tell a dog to stop barking, sometimes it's easier than telling a child to stop yelling.I speak as both a parent and dog owner.


I can unequivocally state, with no hesitation at all, that a dog owner can and should be able to tell their dog to be quiet in less than 1 second.

If you can't, you shouldn't be a dog owner.

Children have much more personality. I am of the belief that this should be the case with kids too with proper parenting, but I've seen what I think is good parents with misbehaving kids and vice versa, and I'm not a parent (yet), so there I'm less sure.

I've definitely witnessed the futility in arguing with tiny humans, but never with dogs. Dogs are happily subservient.


> Children have much more personality. I am of the belief that this should be the case with kids too with proper parenting,

Agreed, but the key word here is "eventually." Humans are more complex and seem to require more reinforcement learning in some behaviors.

Sometimes there's just no quick calming down a three-year-old despite best efforts.


> Should children be banned from all restaurants?

If they are rowdy, and it is not a place designed for children; Yes.


Yes, as well as movie theaters.


In restaurants I have three major causes of anoyence that decrease or even ruin the enjoyment of the meal, in order:

1: Smokers who don't consider people down wind.

2: Very loud and intoxicated groups, which occasionally are also behaving hostile/violent.

3: Parents who seems to think that children that cry for extended amount of time is something to ignore and simply wait out inside the restaurant.

But I have never had a animal jumping at my lap while seated. It not something I would find ruining the meal unless the owner could not control the animal, it would be hostile, or the owner would ignore the problem. Is that common, and where on the scale of the other annoyances would you place it?


> But I have never had a animal jumping at my lap while seated.

Lucky you. I have. And not an isolated incident, either.

> It not something I would find ruining the meal unless the owner could not control the animal, it would be hostile, or the owner would ignore the problem. Is that common, and where on the scale of the other annoyances would you place it?

I wouldn't mind quite as much if I weren't allergic to dogs (though I would still find it unacceptable). If I'm enjoying a meal, the last thing I want is for my nose to get all stuffed up so I'm unable to taste it properly. I would probably place this between your #2 & #3.


The problem with dogs in restaurants is the shedding fur.

It creates a lot of extra work to clean up and has a decent chance of ending up in the food.


I'm in my forties. I've been all around the country and have traveled internationally plenty. I have never been in a restaurant and had any animal jump on my lap, invited or not, service animal or not.

And I've ate at plenty of dog friendly cafes.

Your experience is unique and frankly strange. I've never heard a similar anecdote. As a person who has had canine companions for the bulk of my life I would never allow such a thing to happen in my own home let alone at a restaurant.


> Your experience is unique and frankly strange.

It not happening to you in no way makes it unique or strange. I'm in my mid 30s and have likewise been all around the country and have traveled internationally plenty.

I see everything from well-behaved dogs sitting there doing nothing, to annoying dogs wandering around, stretching to the end of their too-long leash, rubbing against people's legs and going under tables, to actually jumping at (not necessarily on) people's laps. Don't get me wrong, the majority of dogs I see in public places are reasonably well-behaved. But there are enough that aren't where IMO it becomes a big problem.

Perhaps SF's dog owners just suck more than in most other places. I would definitely believe that. Most of the dog owners I know have given their dogs minimal to no useful training and have little control over them aside from what they get just by having them on a leash. Everyone here is "busy" all the time and I wouldn't be surprised that on average they walk their dogs less than people in other places. Add that to small apartment sizes, and you end up with restless dogs that are unable to expend the energy they need to.

And maybe that's it -- I can't remember an instance where this has happened to me outside the bay area. I assumed that was because, since I live here, I have orders of magnitude more experience with restaurants here, but maybe there's more to it than just that.


I spend a lot of time in the city and I've never had a dog put his paws on me - not even in the Presidio sitting on the ground with food or a ball - and I'm very dog friendly. I know things are different in different parts of the city, but forty some years of being dog friendly and spending a lot of time in dog friendly cafes and parks and I've had nothing near to your experience. Do you walk around with bacon in your pockets? Sounds to me like an exaggeration.


Just for a counter viewpoint, I have lived in Asia for most of my life and the US in the last couple of years. I greatly appreciate the fact that dogs and pets are not allowed by default in certain places in the US. Regardless of how smart you think a dog is, most of them are barely, if ever, trained.


Is dog training not mandatory in the US?


Almost nothing is mandatory in the US. ;)

Dog training is certainly not mandatory (at least in any place in the US I've lived).


Indeed. Which is a fair ideal.

Legally mandated contracts aren't necessary, as long as social contracts are honored. Unfortunately the "complete freedom" usually amounts to complete freedom of personal responsibility.


> Unfortunately the "complete freedom" usually amounts to complete freedom of personal responsibility.

Usually is far too strong an estimate there, IME.

What you are observing I agree is a problem, but a problem caused by a relatively small minority of selfish (or oblivious) assholes.


You are of course right, it's an exaggeration I shouldn't make, but it is something I've increasingly noted.


It sounds like you have a cultural prejudice towards dogs.


> If the US would take a similar approach, maybe people wouldn't feel the need to fake service animal status.

We don't all like having animals in every public place. They are still animals.


In Palo Alto and Menlo Park, it appears that all the landlords have colluded to forbid dogs. Both towns are very dog-friendly, just not for renters. However, if you get a letter from a doctor saying that your dog is an ESA, which you can obtain online, then the landlord is forced to allow it (barring extreme circumstances like dangerous dogs). So that is what everyone does.


Our manager encouraged us to get a letter to reduce the pet deposit. Our previous apartment manager taught us how to get the ESA.


I would assume it reduces their insurance rates to say "no pets, unless ESA".


Doesn't pet damage fall under your renter's insurance liability + damage deposit? How is it relevant for the owner's property insurance?


I've heard that some owner's policies raise liability premiums if tenants have dogs (especially certain breeds). Presumably due to risk of someone suing tenant + owner ("deep pockets") after a bite.


That is exactly the case. Dog bite liability is a huge issue. A pit bull injuring a child is massive liability. Breed size restrictions are a back door way of screening potentially dangerous breeds. A beagle, to my knowledge, has never killed anyone, but there are plenty of tragic cases where certain large breeds has maimed or injured people and other animals. It’s actually a fact that more dog bites are committed by small dogs, but a kid losing an arm over a chihuahua bite is unheard of, thus the liability risk for small dogs is dramatically lower. Also as a parent, I would be extremely wary of living in a community where pit bulls are allowed. As a property owner, I am not going to base the safety of my property on the hope that a pit bull owner has trained his dog appropriately. Hope is not a valid strategy for risk mitigation.

I also have an admitted prejudice against pit bull owners based on my experience with such owners — so if I am legally able to discriminate against certain animals, I admit I would because it would allow me to avoid leasing to pit bull owners. If anyone has been a landlord for very long, they would know that you can tell a lot about a potential tenant by the type of dog they own — and the anecdotal experiences of my dad owning rental properties tend to support my prejudice.

I actually actually own a large breed, a white Swiss shepherd, and I am completely understanding when people are wary of a massive working dog, although living in France, people here aren’t so afraid — perhaps because culturally the French seem to do a better job of training dogs so there are fewer experiences of people being attacked or annoyed by rowdy animals.


> A beagle, to my knowledge, has never killed anyone

Wikipedia mentions two cases in the US[0], but what's more interesting is the existence and thoroughness of this Wikipedia page.

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_Unite...


That wikipedia page is amazing.


It also lowers the attractiveness of the unit from the perspective of other potential tenants, since many people are not interested in living around the noise, smell, or allergens of animals.


It indirectly becomes a form of discrimination against the poor. Wealthier renters play the game, call their doctor friends to get a note (like they did in high school to get out of tests). Poorer renters go look elsewhere.


Is it really that? Or is it simply more likely that in a landlord's market where they can choose to rent to a dog owner or a non dog owner, they opt for the one that carries less risk of damage or complaints by neighbors (all other factors being equal)?

Dogs can scratch floors, pee or poop on carpet, shred things, keep people up barking, dig up yards, even bite people. I can't say I blame them for protecting their investment to the maximum extent possible when market conditions allow. It's an investment to most, and nothing more.

And I say this as someone who grew up with cats and a dog and loves animals. I might one day decide to own a pet myself, but I sure as heck wouldn't begrudge a landlord who did not want one living in their property.


I don't think it is the purpose, just an unintended consequence. I agree there is a 100% valid reason for not wanting pets in a rental.


I think we found the landlord.

The homes people live in are more then just an investment to someone else. As a landlord, I "sure as heck" wouldn't begrudge a tenant the joy of finding a pet as a companion in life over few dollars.


Poorly cared for, pets can do an epic amount of damage to a property (getting the cat piss smell out of flooring is more than just a few dollars).

Do you believe that landlords who forbid water beds are also misers who deny others small joys out of avarice?


I recently dealt with restoring a rented two-storey house owned by my girlfriend which was rented out to a couple owning five cats.

One of the cats was old and infirm and peed repeatedly indoors on carpeted floor. The smell was horrendous. I can't see how the tenant lived with it.

We replaced a large proportion of the carpet throughout the house.

The deposit covered the costs only because we carried out the work ourselves as part of a larger renovation project in advance of selling.

If we had gone down a more hands-off approach followed by investment-focused landlords, the costs would easily have exceeded the rental deposit which would have resulted in the need to sue the previous tenant.

That's a whole lot of effort to go to for a landlord and I can see how a landlord would choose to avoid pet owners given the option.


My parents had a rental for 17 years and as they were preparing to retire to another state let the tenant know they'd be selling the place in the next year or so. We paid to one-time pickup the dog poop, and let them know they'd need to keep up the backyard after that (per the lease, but we'd let it slide for years as it was a single-family).

A bit over a year later, tenant moves out and we discover that the backyard is clean because they simply stopped letting the (large breed dog) out. Every bit of carpet and subfloor needed replacing (literally cut out as close as we could with circular saws, seal the 1.5" we couldn't reach, and air the place out; the neighbors complained about the smell and asked if we could keep the windows closed). The wood was soaked/swelled in many places with urine. Every air vent and return was rusted from urine. More than one contractor "no bid" the work; one complained that he was going to have to throw his work boots away after the walk-through.

The tenant had about 2 nickels to rub together, so parents lost a lot of expected gains on that deal.


My husband and I replaced a carpet in our last apartment ourselves before move out (hired a professional, got it matched exactly with the rest of the carpets, replaced carpet pad as well, cleaned concrete subfloor) because our cat decided that one corner of the living room was an appropriate place to urinate.

She's usually a well-behaved cat, never did anything like this before, and we tried everything we could think of to get her to stop. We spent over a year and hundreds of dollars trying to repeatedly clean the spot, shampooing, steaming, enzymes, but nothing worked.

Our deposit was only $500, but we spent about $1600 replacing the carpet (it was the right thing to do and, like you said, they can sue us). There was NOTHING you could do to get that out besides just replacing it. And that was just one room. Multiply by 5 or 6 for replacing carpets all over the house, and that's more than a landlord can even reasonably hold as a security deposit. And what if we had had a wood subfloor instead of concrete? That would quickly get into the 5 figures.

It seemed like an ideal pet situation -- good cat, no history of urinating outside the litter box, responsible pet owners, regular vet checkups, doing everything we could to try and clean and get her to stop, cared very much about the cleanliness of our living space, but we STILL had to replace the carpet.

Honestly, especially after that experience, I don't blame landlords at all. I own a house now and don't think I'd ever want to, say, rent a room to a stranger with a cat. And I have a cat!


But that's just gross neglect. As a cat owner, I have to deal with the occasional pee on the floor and there are specialized detergents that are very effective in getting rid of the smell.

You do get desensitized to the smell, though. The first time cleaning the litter box I almost vomited, these days it's a mild inconvenience at most. When I get guests, I'll clean the litter box as a precaution, someone else's nose might think the smell is horrible but I'd barely notice it (I don't ever let it get that bad).

I do get the point from a landlord's point of view, though. Why take the risk if there are other tenants who don't carry that.

Although I think it should be negotiable with a larger deposit rather than flat out refusal. Pets increase the quality of life.


Yes, I absolutely agree.

My comments from the perspective of a landlord weren't intended to generalise pet owners.

I own two cats (although I suspect they actually own me) and have previously rented houses and have offered a per-cat additional deposit in cases where landlords were adamant.

One of my cats is easily stressed out which can lead to uninary tract infections and which may have contributed to her chronic irritable bowel syndrome.

Both conditions (the former intermittent, the latter constant) can result in unexpected indoor urination and surprise vomiting.

Cleaning up either is perfectly achievable given the correct care and attention.

Despite being exposed over many years to a variety of cat by-products, I still haven't grown accustomed to the smell of cat urine such that I could ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could!


I made a post about this, above, but I would argue that urine isn't always possible to completely clean in some situations. We lived in a place with a carpet and a thick pad under the carpet. Combined with a cat that spontaneously decided to habitually urinate in that one spot (no history of it). We tried EVERYTHING -- it was a massive project for over a year to get her to stop and spent hundreds of dollars on cleaning. Every enzyme product and shampoo, hours of elbow grease, soaking, drying, re-soaking, re-drying. We caught it as soon as it happened, gave LOTS of care and attention, but no dice.

Even the most responsible owners with the best pets can have problems that can't be fixed without just replacing the entire carpet. It happens.


Sometimes with latrine animals like cats and rabbits it's better to just give in and put the damn litterbox in the spot they've picked.


As a pet owner who keeps their cats clean, their litter box clean, and their house smelling clean, pet deposits piss me right off.

Any tenant has the potential to be a filthy person. Hoarding, not cleaning, not reporting bug issues/plumbing/needed repairs, etc. - Being a landlord is taking that risk and hedging by doing renter interviews and taking deposits.

The majority of pet owners manage their pets properly, just like the majority of people are reasonably clean and responsive to building issues. Normal wear and tear is covered by deposits or else is the cost of doing business.

Pet rent and pet deposits are, in my opinion, a recently-accepted method of increasing deposits and rent through additional line-items. Might as well have "child rent".


The majority of pet owners manage their pets properly

As a dog owner, I strongly dispute this. Most dog owners are pretty oblivious to managing their dog appropriately, either overly doting, or neglecting. It pains me when I take my dog out for a walk how much dog poop I see on people's lawns, and how poorly behaved other people's dogs are when out on leash. Dragging their owners around, lunging as we pass (either in anger, or out of control playfulness). <5% of dogs I run into are under control by their owner.


For the record, I'm not a landlord. As someone who cares about their own investments, I am simply empathizing with the individuals who wish to keep their investments in good health and who have the ability to do so due to market conditions.

People don't become a landlord for fun and games. They do it to make money. If you are good at making money, you look for ways to limit your exposure to risk.


I think we found someone who has never owned dogs or property, perhaps both.


Unless it is controlled, it would simpler and more profitable to raise the rent.


Pets aren't cheap and are long term expenses.

Why are the poor getting pets? Why do you think it's a right? Why shouldn't they be spending their money on their childrens education for instance or putting the money towards buying or other long term stablisers to their future.


> Why are the poor getting pets? Why do you think it's a right?

Wow, there's a way to get an Englishman's hackles up! Nation of dog-lovers...

Generally, we'd like society to be reasonably inclusive regardless of means. So that even if someone is poor, they don't merely subsist, but can engage in some of the fulfilling parts of life, including having a pet (which along the way if you'd particularly like some Victorian moralism to justify why the poor deserve such things, also engages people with all sorts of virtues like responsibility, companionship, empathy,...)


I completely agree with you, in principle, but... taking proper care of a pet is both time consuming and can be costly. Hell, getting my cat food that isn’t single-digit-percentage meat content (they are carnivores and require meat...) costs a surprisinly large amount :(


Have you ever tried making your own? http://www.catnutrition.org/recipes.html


No, although I have been looking into it (and have been feeding her more pure meat too). I think I will make this a priority. Thanks for the link.


Dogs are fantastic for addressing childhood anxiety, and although they are expensive, they are much cheaper than a therapist. [1]

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284277087_Pet_Dogs_...


So is good parenting.

When did we get to the stage where people need things to fix issues they create. Pets help, but not if you can't afford to keep them at the expense of a happy household.

Dogs make people happier and emotionally better, not denying that. So does earning $70,000+

But if your poor your can't just earn $70,000+ and the same as keeping pets (they are easy to buy though)

I'm happy to work to a future where everyone get both of those though.


> So does earning $70,000+

I don't earn that much, but in my country, I earn about 3-4 times the median salary. I really enjoy having the money and the liberty they provide. That doesn't stop me from being anxious and depressed most of the time though. I used to think money buys happiness. And for a time it did. However, that wears off as people adjust to the new financial status.


Because not all poor people have children, and in many cases, having a pet first can be good training for having a child, especially when you run into situations where it's hard to make ends meet and you need to make some tough choices. If you own a pet and making sure they have enough to eat is hard to do, that should definitely factor into whether you can support a child if your financial situation hasn't changed.

Beyond that, it's a quality of life issue. Pets can drastically increase the quality of life of people by providing companionship. Questioning why the poor are getting pets is like questioning why the poor have a smartphone, or even just the internet. To some, it looks like a luxury, but a long time ago it became much harder to lead a normal life without internet access. For example, last week was back to school night for my daughter's sixth grade class. All teacher correspondence is through email, updates about classwork is through email or the teacher website, and if you have a problem with the math homework, there's handy set of instructions for how to get instructional videos from the math website. Don't have a computer or a phone that can use the internet (which face it, is probably cheaper)? Guess you have to find a relative or head to the library to get help.

Any time you question whether the poor should be spending their money on something you see as a luxury item, you should step back and think about why they are doing it, and what non-obvious benefits it might impart. That even goes for clothes.


> Guess you have to find a relative or head to the library to get help.

I fail to see how going to a library means "much harder to lead a normal life". Personally, I would go insane without internet. All my activities depend to some degree on having access to the internet. But going to the library to check for instructions for homework? People have done that for hundreds of years.


> But going to the library to check for instructions for homework? People have done that for hundreds of years.

You don't check out anything, you use a computer on-site to view instructions. Libraries as a place of distribution function fundamentally differently than libraries as internet cafes. Even if your job hours overlap with almost all library hours, you still have the weekend to go to a library and check out books that can be used all week. Internet access from the library is only available while at the library. Our library is nice enough to have (and be able to afford) extended hours on Wednesday, so they are open until 8 PM, otherwise they close at 5 or 6 each day. Good luck using it on other weekdays if you have traditional work hours. Need to respond to an email regarding a prospective new job? I'm sure they won't mind if you take a few days to get back to them...

> I fail to see how going to a library means "much harder to lead a normal life". Personally, I would go insane without internet.

The context is people criticizing the poor for owning a smartphone. Not only does it solve the internet access problem, but it's probably cheaper, even with the phone cost, than a computer plus separate internet service, since the alternative is not no phone, but a dumb phone (which isn't free).


The other commenter was talking about "all correspondence" with the school and you changed that to mean "do occasional homework".

>I fail to see how going to a library means "much harder to lead a normal life".

In the context of a modern education, you don't think having home internet access is a huge advantage (versus having to visit a library)?

You really can't be serious?


The question is why we have poor and not a better distribution of wealth.

Not the Nazi-grade question if poor people deserve to have dogs.


> The question is why we have poor and not a better distribution of wealth.

We're not going to solve the problem of "why we have poor and not a better distribution of wealth".

> Not the Nazi-grade question if poor people deserve to have dogs.

Nazi grade? Deserve? They can do whatever they want. Poor choices will result in poor lifestyles either way. Advising against spending money you don't have on things you don't need does not advocate Nazism.


>We're not going to solve the problem of "why we have poor and not a better distribution of wealth".

Why not? In many countries we've solved the problem "why do we have subjects and kings", "Why we have slaves", "We we have peasants and sharecroppers", etc.

>Poor choices will result in poor lifestyles either way. Advising against spending money you don't have on things you don't need does not advocate Nazism.

Maybe they shouldn't have kids either, if they can't afford them?

(Many people advocate for that too. Because of course "affording to have a kid" means "giving it a middle-class life and paying for their college". God forbid anybody brings their kid a working class/poor existence. Perhaps they should just give up and perish as a class of people).

(Similar here with the idea that a "dog" is some expensive middle/upper-middle class accessory. Even homeless people can have their dogs (and often do). And the poorest of the poor, in developing countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa etc often have dogs and cats just fine. No $100 premium pet-food per month required).

Here are some "bad decisions": http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/poor-man-in-india-shares-...


> Maybe they shouldn't have kids either, if they can't afford them?

Personally, I'm not planning on having kinds until I'm somewhat confident I can give them a proper education.

> God forbid anybody brings their kid a working class/poor existence. Perhaps they should just give up and perish as a class of people

Sorry, but perhaps you should stop gratuitously exaggerating. I was brought into a working class. However, that didn't stop my mother from giving her best to raise and educate me into the middle class citizen I am today. Money isn't an issue unless it's a really bad problem. Education and parenting is however. I've seen a lot of wealthy people neglecting their children, just like I've seen a lot of poor people spending more time with their children.

> Here are some "bad decisions"

Because you can buy shoes with scraps of food?


Do they have some local law there that prevents forbidding ESA? The article specifically says, "Emotional support animals (let’s just use that as a catchall for any dog that provides comfort but does not perform a specific task) are specifically excluded by the ADA, and access for them is not provided by that law. Businesses and similar entities are left to define their own policies."


I don't have an ESA so I can't say firsthand, but my understanding is that in California, the Disabled Persons Act has this effect. Intuitively, I think the idea is that when your doctor certifies that you need an ESA, the reason is that you have a disability, so a landlord rejecting it would be illegal discrimination.

Edit: I believe this only applies to housing, not restaurants or other businesses.



San Francisco is only marginally better, and yeah, everyone gets their dog registered as an ESA.


100% yes.

Looking for an apartment in the Bay Area is impossible with a dog. Doubly so if your dog is more than 30 lbs (really a large cat). Triply so if you have one of the breeds the large apartment complexes don't allow.


> Doubly so if your dog is more than 30 lbs (really a large cat).

Maybe if you have a cougar for a pet. Large housecats are 15-18#. When they get to 30# they can't see their feet anymore because they are shaped like beach balls at that point.


I spent $200 two years ago to register my dogs to avoid non refundable pet admin fees and pet rent. It's saved me almost $5k in bullshit charges.

When landlords stop gouging, I'll stop finding loopholes.


Landlords have no way of knowing which dog is going to be the one that costs them thousands of dollars in damage and/or headaches, so they have to charge extra for all of them, same way insurance underwriting works.

You opted in to that price class, and that luxury of having a pet. When you lie that your dogs are service animals, you make life harder for people whose survival depends on it.


If I have a serious wreck in my car, I win the insurance bet—that is, it may well pay out more than I've paid in. Even crappy health insurance policies have cases where they do the same.

Not so with pet deposits in any lease I've seen. They take your money, which is usually non-refundable, and will still charge you for any cleaning and repair not covered by the deposits you paid.

Perhaps it's insurance from the landlord's perspective, but it's an added cost the tenant bears that offers them no financial protection at all.


The extra money isn't meant to protect you (the tenant) from anything. It's there to protect the landlord's interest in being able to recoup losses caused by a destructive pet.

If a landlord isn't returning your pet deposit when you move out, it's not a deposit, it's a fee. If they're misrepresenting it as a deposit that will be returned, you might have legal recourse, depending on where you live.


Leases are pretty clear about the non-refundable nature of the deposit/fee/whatever, and it isn't exactly a rare practice.


Ah, gotcha. Why is that so objectionable, though? Can you state with certainty that a dog (not specifically your dog, but the average or maybe even a majority of dogs) does not increase wear-and-tear on an apartment at a level that justifies a higher rent? I live in SF, so I'm certainly no stranger to the concept of the greedy landlord who jacks up prices just because they can, but extra pet rent seems entirely reasonable to me and not just a manifestation of greed.


The objection is generally landlords have to show damages to collect compensation from renters. They collect deposits to ensure at least some of the bill gets paid should you damage the place beyond normal wear and tear, but if you leave your home in the condition it was in when you moved in the landlord owes you your deposit back. That makes sense.

What justifies pet deposits being different? What justifies pet rent but not, say, charging extra rent or an extra non-refundable deposit because you have a toddler?

(Is pet rent even collected and applied to the cost of repairing any damage your pet causes? I should find out what's common here.)

As an aside: I've also had a landlord charge almost $5 for a paper statement, or just under $1 to e-mail me a statement instead. (No statement was no option.) They're clearly not above nickel-and-diming their customers—which I found weird because $1 on top of, say, $800 (plausible rent for a two-bedroom unit in not-SF) is nothing—about 0.1% of rent. Which makes it a minor annoyance at worst, but… why bother? $400 (common pet deposit amount in not-SF) + $10/mo (common pet rent, when pet rent is charged) is also nothing—just over 5% of one year's rent. But it's more of a something than a $1 fee for them telling you what you owe this month, which they felt the need to do regardless.


Or they can charge a security deposit. If my pet causes damage it comes out of that; if the cost exceeds the deposit they can demand the additional amount. That's the way it used to be - the recent trend of admin fees (pet or otherwise) in lieu of security deposits is the bullshit part.

I also opted into no such price class. This has become standard practice in my market. Rents in major metro areas are insane and the additional profiteering on the part of landlords and management companies gets worse every year. They do it because you have virtually no choice but to agree to them.

As for making anyone's life harder: how so?


You say "bullshit charges" like having a dog is of zero consequence. Maybe your dog is the one that never comes in with muddy feet, never has an accident, or never scratches or chews a thing, but even if it is, it isn't bullshit for a landlord to try and manage the cost.


Non-refundable deposits are.

If you really do have a model pet that damages nothing, why does the landlord get to keep your deposit anyway?

I can grant, say, compulsory carpet replacement—but even then, what if you live there 10 years and the carpet really ought to be replaced whether you had a pet or not? And do two pets double the cost of replacing the carpet?

(Also I know for a fact scroogier landlords will leave the old carpet in when they really shouldn't—when it's 10 years old, the last tenant's cat peed all over it, and also the last tenant chainsmoked indoors. But they'll still collect a non-refundable pet deposit, and probably bill for cleaning in excess of deposits even when that cleaning did not happen.)

Why is that reasonable risk management and not gouging?


If you drove for a whole year without a car accident, why does your insurance company get to keep your insurance payments anyway?


Because I'm buying the service of them paying my liability, and also my own damages if I opt for it, if suddenly I crash. They sell the service of protecting you from financial risk.

A car insurance policy that costs $400 once but only pays for $400 worth of damage ever, and isn't refundable, is a bad deal. No one would buy this unless forced to.

False equivalence.


Babies and small kids do a lot of the same, and small kids will scribble on walls with crayons and potentially more permanent markers. Should people pay extra for that too? In American society, pets are considered close to family in a lot of ways, and that ought to reflect in everything.


>"In American society, pets are considered close to family in a lot of ways, and that ought to reflect in everything."

Not it should not. Dogs are not people! And they should not have the same rights as people. What a ridiculous statement that is.

This whole idea that regular non-service dogs should be allowed everywhere a person is seems to be a product of the ever-increasing narcissism in our society.


They used to be able to, but it was made illegal by the Fair Housing Act in 1968. As a parent who has rented, they probably should be able to ask for extra money.


I mean, I get it, but this is a classic example of a tragedy of the commons. All these "fake" "registrations" (in quotes because registrations aren't required) do is make life even harder for the people who have a true need. And, yes, I'm a dog owner who's genuinely sorry and more than a little pissed off at how landlords operate in hot housing markets but economic need is not a true need. There are hundreds of rentals in Seattle that are off-limits to me because I own a dog and I flatly refuse to pay pet rent so it makes my life a little harder but a companion animal is a privilege, not a right.


> All these "fake" registrations do is make life even harder for the people who have a true need.

How? It's not like legally required accommodation for service and support animals is a finite resource. Just because my hypothetical dog is an ESA doesn't make it harder for yours to be -- in fact it should make life easier for people with real need because more people will be familiar with the requirements and already have procedures/policies in place.


It leads to folks with real service dogs being doubted and mistreated. Similar to how the rise of gluten free fad diets made life harder for some celiac sufferers.


The article gives examples where untrained animals cause distractions for actual service dogs trying to do their job. And that the backlash against fake service dogs, give real ones a bad reputation.


Well, it's what the law says. And when you think about it, aren't all pet dogs (not working dogs) emotional support animals, in a way? They're man's best friend, why else do people keep them? The rationalization is not difficult.


Larger dogs can chew on moulding, etc. (My large one did) Cats can leave random stains (mine has). Dogs may be apt to urinate indoors, especially smaller breeds (like my dachshund has). Perhaps $5000 is excessive, but I think the $1500 I've paid for my pet deposits was quite fair.


In an article about pet owners being selfish, you come and remind us that there are other ways to be a pet owner and be selfish?


Why is it a "bullshit charge", simply because you are being asked to pay it?

Do you really believe there is no risk or concern a landlord might have for their investment and property. You comment reeks of entitlement.


I absolutely think property owners should be able to limit their exposure to risk. I also think that security deposits are great. What I don't buy is being charged non refundable fees in place of what was once a simple deposit in the event that I, a pet, a guest or whatever else damaged their property.


lol maybe the doctors & landlords have some kind of back-deals on this?


    And why aren’t there more dog-friendly restaurants, bars, music venues, and 
    other businesses? There are nearly 90 million pet dogs in this country. 
    That’s a huge market, but also a huge problem when us owners act 
    inappropriately. As animal lovers, creating and supporting dog-friendly 
    businesses should be our priority. Acting selfishly to the detriment of 
    others will not create a more dog-friendly future. We want to be able to 
    take our dogs to more places, more often, but we have to make sure doing so 
    is appropriate and doesn’t infringe on the rights and well-being of people 
    who need real service dogs.
I don't understand this remedy. How will making it easier for the average Joe Public to take his ill-behaved pet everywhere make it easier for those with disabilities who require service animals? Won't that just make it more likely that service animals encounter other animals which interfere with their duties?

I think the real answer is to actually have certifications and licenses which effectively differentiate service animals from ordinary pets. Right now, there's pretty much nothing that anyone can do to prove that their "service animal" is actually well-trained enough to be in a public place without causing trouble. So, of course, people are abusing the system in order to get their ill-behaved pets into public areas. The solution to that problem isn't to make every public area open to pets, the solution is to have a clearer way of differentiating well trained service animals from ill-behaved pets.

EDIT: The main fallacy that I see in the article is that it seems to be treating pet ownership as some kind of fundamental right, and sees the "fake service animal" phenomenon as a way that people are exercising this right without working to change the system to make the exercise of this right easier. I don't agree with that worldview at all. Owning a pet is a privilege. If you find yourself in circumstances that are routinely unfriendly to owning a pet, don't own a pet.


There is the Canine Good Citizen test (http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/), and the more stringent Community Canine Good Citizen Test (http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/akc-community-canine/).

I've used this informally as justification before when renting housing and bringing my dog to work (she's a plain CGC).

I think there's value in having these be more recognized. I especially wish they were by airlines.

Note that this isn't the same thing as the issue with service animals, where credentials are at a totally different standard, and more important than where I can bring my pet.


That's useful. It's a low standard of dog training, merely decent on-leash behavior. If you can't get your dog up to that level, it shouldn't be out in public.


> Owning a pet is a privilege

What entity bestows the privilege of pet ownership? It seems like people who claim that something is a privilege usually want to deny it from others.

Something doesn't have to be a fundamental right in order to expect a lack of discrimination or the bare minimum of accommodation. If you accommodate the lives and desires of others only because you're legally required I can't say I would want to visit your business.


Something doesn't have to be a fundamental right in order to expect a lack of discrimination or the bare minimum of accommodation.

What about accommodating those people who have allergies to dog or cat dander? I think their need (i.e their need to breathe without discomfort) takes priority over the want of pet owners to bring their pets to all public venues with them.


Are you not making the argument for banning peanuts as an ingredient in restaurants?


> What entity bestows the privilege of pet ownership?

At least in Switzerland, we had to take a theoretical course, get certified and ensure we were properly taking care of our pets [1].

[1] https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/pd/de/index/stadtpolizei_zueric...


> Right now, there's pretty much nothing that anyone can do to prove that their "service animal" is actually well-trained enough to be in a public place without causing trouble.

That's what the author suggests following that paragraph with the American Kennel Club certification: "If you want to bring your dog into a café, why aren’t you being asked to produce evidence of [it being well-behaved], rather than falsely stating that the business owner has to permit your emotional support animal?"

My issue with ESAs is a tragedy of the commons. Are current ESA dog owners are really okay with being in the middle seat of an airplane with two other ESAs on either side of them? With the exception of one girl who has noticeable anxiety issues, most ESA owners I've met have been yuppies who just wanted to take advantage of a loophole.


> I think the real answer is to actually have certifications and licenses which effectively differentiate service animals from ordinary pets.

If you're blind and you need a seeing eye dog, an untrained dog is useless to you. You actually care if the dog is properly trained.

But for people who don't care about real training and just want the certification, University of Phoenix for Dogs will appear and let anyone get their family pet certified for a nominal fee.

Imposing some kind of $5000/year certification fee or equivalent arduous bureaucracy would weed out people who don't really need the animal, but it also means you would be imposing a costly burden on everyone with a legitimate disability.


Service dogs are already not cheap -- the linked article mentions $20k as typical. Presumably (hopefully!) this cost is covered by insurance, and a certification fee could likely also be covered... for people who actually need it. And insurance companies are pretty careful not to pay for things a patient doesn't actually need, so that should weed out the fakers.


> Service dogs are already not cheap -- the linked article mentions $20k as typical.

That's the cost of proper training. If you don't care about proper training and just want a rubber stamp to put on a certificate then you can probably find someone to do it for $200.

> Presumably (hopefully!) this cost is covered by insurance, and a certification fee could likely also be covered... for people who actually need it.

"Don't worry about the cost of that because the insurance is paying for it" is the primary reason people can't afford health insurance.

> And insurance companies are pretty careful not to pay for things a patient doesn't actually need, so that should weed out the fakers.

In which case the burden you impose on people with a legitimate disability is the burden of proving it to the insurance company.

Moreover, if we want to err on the side of not denying coverage for legitimate claims, we make it easy for people to file illegitimate ones. Before the certification requirement there was little incentive to do that, but now we've expanded the problem from people claiming their pets are service animals to the problem of people claiming their pets are service animals and having their health insurance pay $20,000+ each to get the pets trained and certified.

The issue is this. We can either (a) let people get away with something, or (b) institute an expensive bureaucratic process to prevent them from getting away with it. Sometimes the burden of (b) is more than the burden of (a).


"But for people who don't care about real training and just want the certification..."

The certification should cover both the fact that the animal is properly trained and the fact that the owner needs the animal because of being disabled. Just like the disabled parking permit.


>Owning a pet is a privilege.

nope. It is a service to humankind. We evolved in close communication and collaboration with dogs, cats, horses. Keeping pets is keeping open that window into communication and collaboration with other species. Without dogs and cats around (and we pretty much already lost horses) humankind have all the chances to lose such capability completely. To illustrate just one, most obvious and straightforward, part of the picture - one can just google about pets effect on children development (and one can see that making owning a pet hard/impossible is basically equivalent to depriving children of such a benefit).

At the personal level - pets enhance our lives, our perception and understanding of the world, our emotional well being, our sense of empathy to others. Does it sound like a privilege or a fundamental right?


I've always wondered about the prohibition on asking for proof that the animal is actually a service animal. Why is that considered too much of a burden for a disabled person? We don't let people into bars unless they provide proof that they're over the legal drinking age; why should we let animals into restaurants without proof that they have a legal right to be there?

It's somewhat ironic, since I see people flaunting their fake "service animal ID cards", which, according to the law, aren't required.

I really really wish more businesses would at least ask the "what task is this animal trained to perform?" test. I imagine it would weed out a lot of the fakers on the spot. I think a lot of people are "passive liars" in that they're ok putting on a fake ID tag and presenting it when asked, but will have a harder time actually lying about the animal's service-related capabilities.


It's because there is no official system for licensing/registering service animals so there's no way to provide proof.

So the law explicitly sets up an honor system, where you have to accept it if someone says they have a service animal.


even in systems where there is an official system, think temporary handicap stickers, abuse can be rampant in certain areas. From outright fraud of fake stickers/mirror hangers to just always using a relatives car which has a sticker.

the fix is in enforcement backed by real fines. nothing disgusts me more than watching obviously healthy people run from handicap spaces into stores and back out only to watch the little old lady have to hobble from further out because all the spaces are taken.

we live in a society where there are people who will abuse a system because they can or they feel entitled to do so because of some perceived offense.

considering the technology available today there is zero reason we cannot provide RFID or similar tags that cannot easily be spoofed that is on the dogs collar. where I am we have to have rabies tags on dogs so adding another tag is a non issue


>we live in a society where there are people who will abuse a system because they can or they feel entitled to do so because of some perceived offense.

Yup. If someone at a restaurant asked a patron those questions here in LA, that person would leave in a huff, cause a scene, get some sort of Twitter boycott going, etc etc, even if they were in the wrong.


"In California, the penalty is $1,000 and up to six months in jail"

The number and nature of jailable offenses in the US state and federal legal systems keep baffling the European mind.


It has to be a dog, you have to pass it off as a service animal, and you have to do so in a way that meets the CA legal standard for "fraudulent". It's a little silly that there's a specific statute for it (and that it only covers dogs), but it's really just a refinement of the crime of fraud, which most assuredly is a crime in Europe too.


But that's sort of the point -- if it's redundant with fraud then why does it need a separate law?


In US common law, fraud requires that the victim bear some sort of loss (injury), and there's none in this particular set of circumstances. So existing fraud law isn't generally sufficient to cover this particular set of circumstances.


Because legislators don't feel they have accomplished something if they don't get their name on a statute.

A little free publicity on a controversial one doesn't hurt either.


One of the things that this visitor to CA found disturbing was how so many signs have the code number of the law listed on it. Made the visit feel more police-state-ey. Even the little cart that carries tourists up the hill at Alcatraz had a "do not board moving vehicle" sign on it with a legal reference.

CA has a really weird relationship with government.


I think it's cool that you can go look up the code number and know exactly what the law is and what it requires you to do. Surely that is less police state than a board just screaming penalties?


"Don't board moving vehicle" is an instruction which implies no penalties.

"Don't board moving vehicle/legal code #123v4" is an instruction which implies legal ramifications if you disobey.


Many countries in Europe (I would know beacuse I live in one of them) have laws forbidding you from possessing certain drawn pornography of fictional characters on threat of imprisonment. I would say we have our fair share of hideous or ridiculous laws too.


And this is in Caifornia, one of the most liberal states. I shudder at the thought of how it must be like in Deep South.


Political affiliation and number of laws and regulations aren't obviously correlated. How many red states/cities have the same fines and taxes for grocery bags and improper garbage sorting?


It's not hard to find out; just search "service dog fraud" and [southern state], for instance, to find out that Alabama appears to have no such law, while Texas will fine you for trying to pass off a dog as a service animal (but apparently hasn't done so in a long time).


Generally speaking the left states are also the most authoritarian states. If you can think of it CA probably has a law regulating it and criminalizing failure to comply.

Whether a state is left or right leaning does not have any bearing on whether it is highly authoritarian or not. It just so happens that the general pattern in the US is high population -> lots of laws -> left leaning.


That seems an odd claim, as right leaning states have the highest incarceration rates per capita.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_incar...


Higher incarceration rates do not on their own imply higher authoritarianism; they might also imply a higher number of lawbreakers, even with a lower number of laws. A more-competent police & legal system might also yield more prisoners, even with identical laws and an identical infraction rate.


Well, I would say that higher incarceration rates do not prove higher authoritarianism, but that is a reasonable implication. I think "count of individuals deprived of freedom of movement" is likely a stronger signal than "count of laws on books".


"...authoritarian..."

I don't think that word means what you think it means... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism


favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.

Maybe you didn't understand what he meant, because authoritarian makes perfect sense in the context he was using it.


On the contrary, authoritarian governments are not democratic, which is illustrated by the example sentence in the OED definition you've provided (but not cited): ‘the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic regime’

Any engagement with the word more serious than a dictionary lookup will indicate that regulation and authoritarianism are not at all the same thing. Restricting the access of pets to restaurants is not the same as the dismantlement of civil society to enable a one-party regime.


It is authoritarian behaviour, not literally an authoritarian form of government.


>favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.

Thank you. This is exactly how I meant it


I guess, why should we allow more than the bare minimum of dogs in public buildings. I don't like dogs much, and I'm mildly allergic to them. I've never had a bad interaction with a real service dog, but this article glosses over the part where some people might not want dogs in a restaraunt or on their flight at all. I know I don't.


I think the question of pets in public spaces is a bit of a culture-clash issue. I was raised with well-loved, well-trained dogs, but I would never have considered taking them to a grocery store or restaurant. There are a lot of people whose enjoyment of public spaces is impeded by the presence of animals - one person's emotional support animal is another's source of anxiety, and often for good reason.

I think it is reasonable to expect people to tolerate the broad spectrum of humanity encountered in public, including those at difficult developmental stages, but extending this tolerance to other species is a matter for debate.


There are probably plenty of liars out there, but I think part of the problem may be the fact that there are a lot of people out there that need a proper service dog but can't afford one.

PTSD seems to be a big market for service dogs. However, every program I can find that helps people pay for PTSD service dogs is for military veterans only (If you know of one that isn't please let me know). Which is pretty sad considering far more people in the US have PTSD for non-combat related reasons.

If you can't get someone to help you pay for one, some of the trainers charge $20k or more. People hear stories about how service dogs can change a person's life completely and so when they can't afford one they buy a dog they can afford and attempt to train them on their own. There are lots of organizations and individuals out there providing information on how to do it. I'm not sure what the typical results are like, but I imagine its harder to accomplish than many assume.

My wife and I would have to save for years to get a $20k dog, so we've been thinking about trying to train one ourselves. It might be foolish, but when you're desperate you'll try anything. If they pass laws implementing fines for fake service dogs, I really hope they are thoughtful enough not to make it illegal to have a service dog that's not officially trained by someone that charges a fortune.


If you have a diagnosed illness, then your service dog should probably be considered "real." I'm not as confident as you that most of these people have diagnosed illnesses, however.

I know a guy with a traumatic brain injury that is confined to a wheelchair and has a "real" service dog. I don't think there is any way you can train a random dog to this level on your own. The dog has amazing skills and took many months to train. Also the trainers select dogs that exhibit the right temperment at a very young age.


>I don't think there is any way you can train a random dog to this level on your own.

I pretty much agreed in my comment. People try anyways because they've tried everything else and don't have the money.

>Also the trainers select dogs that exhibit the right temperment at a very young age.

There are lots of breeders now that offer to help you find a dog with the right temperment. I'm not sure how legitimate they are though.


I think it would be a great idea for cost, but is not comparable to a properly-trained animal in most scenarios. My mother is blind and also has a cochlear implant (basically is just shy of being deaf) and has had a service dog for the last 7 years. The dog was in training for 18 months specifically to aid blind and deaf (combo) people, then my mother had to fly out East from Minnesota for 6 weeks just to train with it without the distractions of home. Her program was solid and both of the owner and dog know their roles very well. It would be extremely tough and cost prohibitive to do this without a track record and support structure behind the whole process.


Ugh. Pet laws are so terrible. They're made out of laziness and a weird inability to confront the actual problem. I have a pretty damn good dog. Lots of people have shit dogs. Rather than actually address bad behavior, we decide to tell everyone with a dog "no dogs here". "Some people with dogs are inconsiderate, and we don't want to deal with that, so all people cannot bring their dogs". In particular airlines have constructed a ruleset which (incorrectly) assumes small dogs can be only so inconvenient/irritating to other passengers and that larger dogs will be ok in the cargo space.

I have an ESA certificate to fly with my ~40lb Wheaten. Once, on a three hour flight, I took my seat well before the woman next to me. When we landed and my pup got out from her curled-up, fuck-this-engine-noise position under the seat, the woman jumped, laughed, and said "I THOUGHT YOU HAD A FUR BAG!". That is to say - while she isn't a perfect dog, she's pretty chill and well-behaved.

I got the certificate online, and without lying. That said, the quiz amounts to a longwinded version of "Do you get anxious? Does it get worse when traveling? Does your dog make you feel better?" To which I think most humans who have dogs would say "Triple yes."

I've looked at each argument that what I'm doing is immoral, and found a rationale suggestion otherwise.

"People are allergic!" For $100 a tiny shedding dog can ride in a very-not-dander-proof container. My dog is non-shedding.

"They can be noisy!" So can your toddler. So can above tiny dog. Mine isn't.

"It's like parking in a handicap spot!" No silly, my dog takes up my foot space, no one else's

"The airline is losing money!" My dog & I weigh less combined than plenty of people who pay the same fare. I've also offered to buy a seat for my dog and leave her in a large crate on the seat. No takers.

"The guy next to you doesn't want a dog around!" See answer 1. Also, 90% of people are happy to be distracted from the horror of flying. Anyone who isn't can easily trade seats, since more than 50% of people are happy to sit by the pup.

All in, my choices are:

- don't have a dog - have a smaller dog - risk my dog dying under the plane / guarantee she's terrified - don't travel - get an ESA certificate


I have a dog allergy and I would like to clear up a common misconception. Shedding dogs are usually worse, but hypoallergenic/non-shedding dogs can still cause allergic reactions. The difference is that there are less allergens in the saliva, fur, etc than a normal dog but there are still allergens. In other words, hypoallergenic dogs are a solution for mild dog allergies, emphasis on mild.


Right - but as I said above - that doesn't stop small shedding dogs from causing you problems. My point is that, on the allergy front, my Wheaten is no worse than a beagle that someone paid for.


This is absolutely true. The vast majority of dog allergies are 'mild' though which is why people don't realise.


Or, you know, don't travel with your dog. Like most people who fly.


The two times I have been with people with fake ish service dogs it made me way more anxious in public. I do not want to stand out. I would not want the stares or attention from a dog where it is unwelcome, cannot understand that these people actually feel better pissing people off.


Luckily for almost everyone involved, you are not legally protected from the stares of my dog.


Good points. The airlines definitely push you to register the pets even if you don't want to. I have a hypoallergenic 5 lb dog. She fits under the seat.

On most flights they don't care if she is out of her carrier and the only reason we've kept her out is because she either makes an annoying whine or she will sound like a tiny monkey which disrupts passengers. It's not a bark by any measure but it's very noticeable to the point where people don't even know what kind of animal is making the noise. We've drugged her with Childen's Benadryl and another option from the vet before which usually helps but we'd rather not have to resort to it.

We pay $75 each way to take her. It's usually completely subjective on the enforcement of any policy. On the last flight the first attendant took selfies with her and oodled over her for at least 5 minutes. Then the next attendant on the same flight yelled at us for having her out of her carrier (saying it's gate to gate). We usually walk her throughout the airport on her leash.

Anyway, our options are - we can put her in her carrier and others will be disturbed if they don't have noise cancelling headphones or want to use the available earplugs, or we could keep her out of her carrier with no risk to anyone and she'll be completely fine and look out the window in awe like a child.

I understand a few bad dogs can ruin it for all but there should be some discretion allowed and the way they enforce any such policies is confusing and not optimal for all parties. They took my money to allow her but is it really ideal to force me to keep her in her carrier and disrupt passengers?


> My dogs are as important to me as my friends and family. The first criteria my girlfriend and I apply to where we eat, drink, and travel is whether our dogs can enjoy it with us.

Eek, the article lost me here. Much as I have a very dear dog that is "part of the family", I do tend to think it's important for people to remember that no your dog is not as important as your family. It is a dog, not a four-legged human. Time in the back yard while you're out is just fine, and it would probably enjoy occasional trips to a dog-of-leash area to chase other dogs much more than "enjoying a restaurant"...


> it's important for people to remember that no your dog is not as important as your family

I think it is an accurate statement to say that, for some people, pets are as important as their family. What is it that you think these people are not remembering?

Some people might not have children, and their pets are like their children. Some people don't have any other family.


>"Some people might not have children, and their pets are like their children."

Because someone does not have a children does not confer human rights or equivalency on a dog. This is such a distortion.

This whole idea of "its like my child" or "this dog is family" is always used when it comes to justify taking dogs into shared spaces that are built for humans.

However if it were a child or family would you leave it all alone in a 500 square foot apartment for 8 hours a day 5 days a week while you went to work? Or would you feed them the the exact same food every day? In those cases "its just a dog" right?

So it seems its only very selectively "like a child" then. It's really only "like a child" when its convenient to justify some perceived right to bring your dog wherever you please when its not actually necessary to address a real disability.


>However if it were a child or family would you leave it all alone in a 500 square foot apartment for 8 hours a day 5 days a week while you went to work? Or would you feed them the the exact same food every day? In those cases "its just a dog" right?

This is also where some entitlement comes in. People faking that they have service dogs so they can get it into their apartment building then leaving it while they're at work all day, especially if they're single.

I love dogs but I'm not going to own one until I can personally make sure I'm providing a good environment and training for it. That's not a studio apartment in Central LA at this moment so I'm happy to wait. It's not a child but it is a being I'm responsible for.


>>> it's important for people to remember that no your dog is not as important as your family

>> Some people might not have children, and their pets are like their children.

> Because someone does not have a children does not confer human rights or equivalency on a dog. This is such a distortion.

You're misintepreting what I said. I never said or implied anything about dogs having human rights or equivalent. I was responding specifically to a statement that "your dog is not as important as your family". I said that for some people their dogs are, to them, like family members, and to them, just as important. That's all I said, and I wasn't making any particular statement or implied statement about the other issues such as taking dogs to a restaurant.


> I think it is an accurate statement to say that, for some people, pets are as important as their family. What is it that you think these people are not remembering?

That they are human, and their dogs are not.

You're correct that some people believe that their dogs are part of their family, but that doesn't obligate the rest of us to treat them as such.


It's absolutely an accurate statement that for some people, pets are as important as their family, or pets are their family.

For various reasons, me and my SO will never be able to have kids. The dogs are our family.

That said, we're responsible pet owners. We don't pretend they're service dogs. We'll take the dogs to pet friendly venues but we won't bend the rules and take them places that we should not.

Replying to the parent comment, it's important to remember that not everyone has the same family situation.


SO = family. I would honestly be very surprised if even you would be game to tell him/her that they are only on the level of importance to you as one of your dogs. Or that if there were a fire, you'd be rushing out the door with a dog and leaving your partner to the flames...

While I'd say "nice try" at trying to imply some sort of assumption and claim a diversity moral high ground, children are not the only kind of family (nor even did anything in my post even mention children), and whatever relations or friends you might have, yes I absolutely would hope that you would consider their needs as more important than those of your pets.


What about for people who don't have family, either in a literal sense or because they are estranged from them?


Why don't these crazy animal people spend their energy trying to get dog kennels to open a restaurant, instead of trying to make the rest of the world put up with their animals?


Seems like one of the main problems here is people who are treating dogs (like TFA author) like people or like children replacements.


true story: guy goes to a restaurant (in California), sits at the counter, notices that another customer has their dog sitting on that same counter.

guy tells the waiter that he would never come there again if the restaurant continued to let customers sit their dogs on top of the counter where people eat. (guy has a compromised immune system and wants to avoid the bacteria present in dog feces).

waiter tells the guy "that would be fine. never come back."

i guess that's just the way it works these days. makes me wonder about restaurant tables, chairs and counters now.


Not liking dogs isn't a protected class so the private business (restaurant) can do whatever they want. Now if they are violating health codes (sounds like they were) that's different.


Public service announcement: around a couple percent of people, including me, have pet allergies. These are of varying severity. Mine are apparently worse then average. The consequences of a severe exposure are unpredictable, but can be closer to a catastrophe then a temporary inconvenience. I won’t get into the grisly details, but I have been to ER for this, and my doctor told me to carry an Epipen.

A lot of people don’t know that animal dander persists in the environment after the animal is gone and transfers onto clothing and upholstery. If I get exposed, I will be sick until I take a shower, change my clothes, and then wait several hours. I will get sick in the presence of upholstery or fabric that certain pets have been in contact with, until that material has been washed. Examples include houses, cars, airplanes, all the clothes in your suitcase that are spread around my hotel room, etc. The after-effects of a strong exposure can last for a couple of days (again, I will spare the details).

This is a huge ass pain for me, and I’m doing everything I can to work on it. I get three injections every week, I’m on several drugs, etc. But in spite of all of that, the social problems are worse then the health problems, because people aren’t aware of the issue, and become offended, argumentative, or defensive when I try to escape. I think that people sometimes believe that I am criticizing their pet, their hospitality, or their housekeeping, or that I am irrational or attention seeking.

I have been accused of hypochondria (I’ve given this honest consideration, but several of my dearest family members observe that I accurately detect pet owners in blind tests by becoming sick in the presence of their clothing and effects, without advance knowledge of their pet ownership status; also, my doctor pretty much freaked out about the results of my allergy diagnostics). My friend (an RN) got super pissed when my mom asked her nicely not to bring her dog inside my house. Pet owning friends have argued and interrogated me when I offer my apologies and say I can’t stay for dinner. Last week a really nice lady brought her cute guinea pig to an event and waved it around my face. I had to figure out how to flee without hurting her feelings. I really like animals, and the whole thing sucks, but it’s mostly beyond my control.

Surviving the “pet friendly” workplace is a serious problem when considering employment, and I have yet to muster the courage to be “that guy” who asks to be reseated on an airplane, in a restaurant, or complained in the college tutoring session because someone brought their dog.

I'm totally willing to take one for the team if someone legit needs a seeing eye dog or something. I just wish that my friend who took her “emotional support animal” on the airplane believed that she was, on average, making several people on each flight sick as a trade off. When I told her I had pet allergies, she said she cured hers with mindfulness and meditation. I’m still not totally sure which one of us is superstitious, but I promise, I actually really did like her dog.


People with allergies have varying levels of reactions. Yours is a very extreme case, and truthfully, I would suggest that no matter what, you're going to be affected. Even in an airplane, most people with dog allergies wouldn't be aware of a dog on the plane unless they were within one or two rows of the animal, and even then, given the air filters in use, it would still have to be a person with reactions approaching yours.

I have no problem if you or your family chooses not to allow animals in your homes - that's entirely within your right. It's also within your right to have people not wave animals in your face, and to prevent their pets from jumping on you and such. But just like I wouldn't ban peanuts from restaurants, planes, or public spaces, I don't think that dogs should be banned either. At least, not on a legal level. --Businesses should have the right to make their own choices as to who to cater to in this respect.


Didn't ask for service dogs to be banned.

Just asking folks to keep in mind that some people have pet allergies when they are deciding whether to take their _pets_ to work or school.

We have to go to those places and if people do that very much some of us will be allergic to the carpets and upholstry and stuff even after the critter leaves. I think most people don't know about this.


> A lot of people don’t know that animal dander persists in the environment after the animal is gone and transfers onto clothing and upholstery.

Or that dander is not hair; dander is invisible. "Oh, she doesn't shed, you'll be fine!" No, I won't.


> I just wish that my friend who took her “emotional support animal” on the airplane believed that she was, on average, making several people on each flight sick as a trade off.

Citation needed here. Don't get me wrong - I'm severely allergic to cats and I've had my share of issues when encountering them while traveling, but my gut tells me "several people on each flight" is a bit of an exaggeration. Happy to be proven wrong.

This is a really tough thing. On the one hand, as someone who has suffered from allergies since I was a kid, it'd be great if I encountered the things I'm most allergic to less often. However, it's also not fair or reasonable to think that the rest of society needs to do something about my personal health issues.

I also grew up with a shellfish allergy and carried an epipen for most of my life. But the responsibility has always been on me (and my parents earlier on) to make sure I take steps to not get sick.

Pain in the ass: yes.


Not asking for a ban on anything, just want people to be aware of the issue.

Sorry, can't find a proper scholarly source right now, but in the past I have seen estimates that conservatively place the occurance rate of pet allergy at around 5-10%. If an airplane seats 200, that's probably "several"; maybe only a few of them will have allergies bad enough to matter. Since dander persists in the environment, at least a few people are going to be allergic to that envirnoment if this happens a lot.

I have to go to work and school, so I can't always avoid this kind of thing. My friend didn't claim to have a medical diagnosis, she just didn't like to be without her dog. By analogy, it might be like if people went around rubbing clams on the furniture at your office. Like at least it would be nice if they only did it with a good reason.


man, it is hard to not feel for you, and i'm sorry if my comment would sound callous. I think there is pretty tough conundrum here. There have been reasoned suggestions (like for example https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_8hrf...) that the "ultra-clean world" have been leading to the current rise of autoimmune/allergies/asthma/etc. . Similarly, I think that it is very possible that limiting societal exposure to pets (starting from the childhood in the pet prohibiting apartments and going into pet-free school/workplace and other places) would condemn even more people to develop and suffer from condition like yours.


> Similarly, I think that it is very possible that limiting societal exposure to pets (starting from the childhood in the pet prohibiting apartments and going into pet-free school/workplace and other places) would condemn even more people to develop and suffer from condition like yours.

That's not how it works. I had cats and dogs and allergy shots growing up. Still super allergic in my 30s.

People choose to have pets. We didn't choose allergies. Leave the animals at home.


>People choose to have pets. We didn't choose allergies. Leave the animals at home.

For example, consider the peanut allergy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut_allergy). Its is a pretty dangerous one. People choose to eat peanuts. Allergic people didn't chose that allergy. Instead of banning peanuts from society there is a kind of reasonable trade-off established where peanuts presence is explicitly communicated, and after that it is up to the allergic people to keep themselves away from that danger. And that pattern can be seen everywhere, not just for allergies. The dangers and pitfalls must be clearly marked and after that it is up to the people to keep themselves away from those dangers.


But the world that we live in has always been populated by a variety of species, not just humans... I understand that some humans have allergies to other species, but I don't think that means that we should enforce situations where other species aren't allowed in public places.


Maybe there could be an officially recognized vest or badge for proper service animals?

That would spare the people who actually need them the possibly embarrassing questions while simultaneously filtering out abusers. Got a badge, no questions asked. Forge the badge, get fined or go to jail.


'Therapy' animals are not service animals and are not protected [1].

[1] https://adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet


* under the ADA.

Discrimination against people with ESAs is protected under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act.


Seriously, is this a problem that needs fixing? Are emotional support dogs really causing society harm? Being able to bring an animal to work with you, for example, has a positive impact on many people and animal's lives, and it in no way discredits or disrespects more skilled or necessary service dogs.

Maybe a good solution is to have a dog license with various levels of acceptance. If your dog is licensed then they must be proven to be well behaved in normal circumstances.


Except some people are violently allergic to dogs, so if a coworker brings their dog to work, it actually impacts other people. At work, someone brought their dog into the cafeteria and it was roaming around the food area, etc, which is not cool.

I have 3 coworkers that registered their dogs as service dogs, just so they could bring them on planes and bring them to work. They have no psychological issues, they simply wanted the convenience of bringing their dogs whereever they wanted. It's pure selfishness.


Did you read the article? Some of these dogs have attacked other people and dogs. If people are getting attacked by dogs they will lobby for policy that gets these dogs banned. Legitimate service animals, genuinely necessary emotional support animals, and fake emotional support animals are all likely to get swept up in the resulting inquisition.


I'd need some statistics to be convinced that the anecdotes in the story are actually commonplace, to be sure we're not banning 90 million people and their dogs because of one bite.

I live in Seattle and people take dogs everywhere, and I seldom or never see any issues. My initial reaction when I see articles like this is to feel like this is nothing more that people wanting to shove rules down each other's throats (and to think pretty snarkily that people can move to Kansas City if they like) but then, my lack of observation of obviously fake service dogs causing any sort of problems, is it itself anecdotal.


You could also create a licensure program for ESA's. Issue specificly branded vests or collars, require specific training, registration, and certification. This way if you want to use your animal as an ESA, you can, you just need to be able to register and pay the fees. Those fees might dissuade a lot of fakers.


> Those fees might dissuade a lot of fakers.

Fakers, and low income people with a genuine need.


Genuinely low income concerns could be allayed with no fee, for those truly low income, or a sliding scale.


"My dogs are as important to me as my friends and family." That's not sweet, it's sick.

House on fire, can only save one... Dog or Friend - Friend (time spent deciding, 0 seconds) Dog or Family - Family (time spent deciding, 0 seconds) Dog or Total stranger - Total stranger (time spent deciding, 0 seconds)


To address these issues, there should be difficult-to-attain certifications for a dog to roam free (within certain bounds), and for a dog to go with a human to places not normally allowing dogs (airplanes, restaurants, etc).

The latter certification would be a prerequisite for various service dog certifications.


I'd really appreciate an easier way to take a dog on a flight. When my dog was brought here via plane it had to be transported in the cargo area which is just a horrible thought!


Through work, I work with a development team in India. The hotel I always stay at in Mumbai, the Renaissance, has a 'security dog' at the entrance.

Every time a car wants to get inside the hotel complex, a security guy opens your door and a bored-looking labrador just sits there. It's quite obviously just a normal, hot, bored labrador.

Every time I get back to the hotel after work I have to go through this ridiculous charade. It's so stupid it honestly makes me cringe with embarrassment every time!


> Twelve states now have laws criminalizing the misrepresentation of a pet as a service animal. That's good, but with all the confusion surrounding what a service dog actually is, there's less and less protection for their unique status.

No it isn't good. Putting someone in jail for lying about their dog being a service animal is terrible. We should be educating these people and simultaneously putting fewer people in jail. Clearly the article outlines a real problem, but jail surely isn't the answer.

* edited for tone

* edit: I'd also be curious to know why people disagree with the proposition that prison is too extreme.


I don't think jail is an appropriate response in this case, but wonder what your plan for "educating these idiots" is.

How do you deal with bad actors who see un- or laxly-enforced policies as an invitation to abuse the system?

How do you deal with repeat offenders who are less malicious but are willing to eat a fine, or whatever, and the occasional stigma, to be able to do what they want?

How do you deal with people who have missed or forgotten some of the education and so bring their dog into a situation that it isn't prepared to deal with in a space it legally shouldn't be in and it attacks a person, another animal, or causes massive property damage, or health risk?

Lately I see a lot of people proposing policies that ignore bad actors or people opting out of the system, and don't discuss what to do then, and it worries me.


> but wonder what your plan for "educating these idiots" is.

The same way you do with public health campaigns or any other public concern.

> How do you deal with bad actors who see un- or laxly-enforced policies as an invitation to abuse the system?

Finne them.

> How do you deal with repeat offenders who are less malicious but are willing to eat a fine

Fine them more.

> How do you deal with people who have missed or forgotten some of the education and so bring their dog into a situation that it isn't prepared to deal with

Make them leave.

> and it attacks a person, another animal, or causes massive property damage, or health risk?

There are already laws for that. Do people's dogs routinely attack people in airplanes?

> Lately I see a lot of people proposing policies that ignore bad actors or people opting out of the system, and don't discuss what to do then, and it worries me.

I agree, and I think jailing people for nonviolent crimes is bad policy.


Sorry, I read a too far into your original post and somehow thought it was more anti-fine too.

Fining does run into a problem when they're out of money, though, where "jail because they're broke" is a still dicey proposition.

As to public health campaigns and other public concerns: are we any good at those? In the US, at least, there's a strong "personal liberty" ideological bent that is very resistant to education in many areas. Seems like conservationism is an example of a successful campaign in the past, but even that's been more on the losing side lately around land protection, EPA, etc.


No, I'm pro fine, as long as it's reasonable and has a max and no minimum so a judge can cut a poor person who just didn't know the law a break. But jail just seems crazy, especially in a place like California where the prisons are bursting at the seams.

> As to public health campaigns and other public concerns: are we any good at those?

There's some pretty good data about education/campaigns and teen pregnancy if you care to google for it. Basically, yes, it works.


> Basically, yes, it works.

It doesn't seem to work that well.

https://discover.dc.nihr.ac.uk/portal/article/4000763/teachi...

> School-based sexual health interventions improved knowledge and attitudes in school students up to 18. However, they failed to consistently improve safe sex practices or reduce unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence-based messages were least effective.

> This review of reviews included 37 systematic reviews of school-based sexual health interventions. It excluded low-quality reviews and spanned 1990 to 2016, so is likely to reflect the best evidence available on the topic.


I'm not an expert but my understanding is that PSAs have a pretty mixed record historically (including some that, strictly from an advertising impact perspective, were pretty well done). e.g. Keep America Beautiful.

In conjunction with other actions, behaviors such as smoking can be altered. But it takes a lot of wood behind a lot of arrows to shift public attitudes.


Yeah, that's about what I recalled. It seems much more effective than prison.


Then what if they refuse to pay the fine ? Jail them ?


Fines aren't a particularly effective punishment, especially when applied to people who are already struggling financially.

My controversial idea is that we should be thinking more about corporal punishment as an alternative to prison or fines. Good old fashioned temporary physical pain is something that is, in a sense, fair across everybody -- a rich man can fear it just as much as a poor man. Compared to a short prison sentence it's cheap, safe, and doesn't ruin the convicted's future life nearly so much.


> but wonder what your plan for "educating these idiots" is

Make them spend time with someone with a real service dog, or organisations that train the dogs.

Let people see the actual work that service dogs do, and the actual needs that people have, and the impact that ESA dogs have on that.


> and the occasional stigma

Doesn't the US constitution's first amendment enshrine a citizen's right to care less about social stigmas? As in, people can't be penalised (by the government) just for bucking the social norm?


No. The First Amendment says this:

> Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Taking an animal with you is not typically seen as an exercise of free speech, etc.


I was talking about enforcing stigmas via the law, not about the pets.


You can also give steep fines. It doesn't have to lead to jail time in most cases.


This is the answer. I know people who've used their ESA "certificate" to get out of paying pet rent. If the threat was a steep fee, they'd probably just consider the pros and cons of getting caught. Luckily, most people I know just want to avoid paying pet rent, and won't ever take their dogs into a supermarket or anything like that.


Agreed. Eventually the social norm will change.


Note: it's not a prison sentence, it's a county jail sentence. This is in response to your later comment about this overcrowding California's prison system. Not that this is the kind of law for which we'd expect judges to be harsh on:

From the state penal code, 365.7, having a fake service animal is seen as fraudulent behavior:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySectio...

> (a) Any person who knowingly and fraudulently represents himself or herself, through verbal or written notice, to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed as, to be qualified as, or identified as, a guide, signal, or service dog, as defined in subdivisions (d), (e), and (f) of Section 365.5 and paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 54.1 of the Civil Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Consider how difficult it is to enforce this law. Business owners are not allowed to ask for proof of a disability or for papers. Given the massive fines they face for discriminating against the disabled -- $50,000 for the first offense, under the federal law (California's penalties may be even harsher -- what do you think most business owners are going to do when dealing with a questionable service animal? It's not even that they have much of a choice to do anything except ask a couple of broad questions, the answers of which do not require proof from the animal owner.

Most reasonable business owners are going to let the animal in because the business owner is more worried about a lawsuit that could destroy their business than the net overall harm done to society's treatment of disabled people. Without the possibility of jail, and given the high possibility of getting away with a fake service animal, it might be hard to dissuade people from breaking the law.


I reject the notion of "fake service dog."

I understand the point about the official, narrow definition of a service dog. Also, I don't dispute that many people claim service dogs that don't meet that definition.

But that feels like the debate about Illegal Immigrants. One side says "what part of illegal don't you understand" and the other responds with "hey, these are good humans."

I think that if a human says their dog provides a service, that the discussion stops there. The more you attempt to push back, the more people will explicitly circumvent it.

And really -- is this a major problem?


Some people don't like dogs. Some are scared of them. Some are allergic to them (like me). Yes it is a problem if everyone starts bringing their dogs everywhere made for people. I don't see anyone trying to bring their horse, cat, pig, etc with them everywhere. Honestly it is really bizarre to me that this is becoming a thing/problem.

If you have an actual disability and need a dog, that trumps my need to not feel sick. But to bring the dog just because he/she is your buddy? I say stop being so selfish.


Did you read the article? Do you know anyone with a service dog? There are lots of non profits dedicated to raising dogs and working with people with disabilities. I suggest you find one and volunteer.

This is a major problem for a small number of people. It's crippling though - This creep towards ESA is both actively impairing the ability of service dogs to work, and passively hurting perceptions.

I'm just summarizing a well reasoned article to you, so please go back and read it again.


Yes, I did read the article -- and I reject its premise.

Thank you for the summary and for your pompous and ignorant response to it.

In college, I had a sight-impaired friend with a guide dog. That dog worked around street noise, farm animals, and unruly pets.

To be constructive -- what is your specific solution to the problem? Anything other than "non profit and volunteer, bro!"


My solution: 1) Encourage people be advocates for people with disabilities (ideally not by being pompous). 2) Educate others about what service dogs actually do - in articles such as this one (I didn't write this article but thought it was constructive).

At it's core - there will always be people who want to bring their dogs into places that only service dogs can go.

The author is making a case for alternative path, such as canine good citizen certification, whereby people who would otherwise slap a vest on their pet can bring their dogs into restaurants, stores, etc. This will ideally decrease people impersonating service animals at the margins, and lead to a better environment for actual service dogs.


>But that feels like the debate about Illegal Immigrants. One side says "what part of illegal don't you understand" and the other responds with "hey, these are good humans."

Is there any country other than the USA where pretending immigration laws don't exist is a mainstream political viewpoint? Serious question here.


Serious question, have you really interacted with anyone who pretends that immigration law doesn't exist? Or are you using that as an uncharitable re-phrasing of the more likely attitude that immigration law as it currently exists should not be enforced in all cases? Because the first one isn't a mainstream viewpoint in the US, and the second one is mainstream in many countries.


And really -- is this a major problem?

If it doesn't bother you the rich people buy the privilege for their dogs to be in grocery stores and restaurants, then not a major problem. But it bugs me as a dog owner that leaves their dog at home.




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