Service dogs are the sweet and helpful furry friends that enable many veterans to live productive, independent, and happy lives. For wounds that can be seen or are those that are unseen, these happy puppies are always there to help. Many veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder admit they would be unable to live functional lives without their beloved service pup.
Sgt. Matthew Miller, Sgt. Noel DeLisle, and Navy Veteran Laurie-Lynn Wood, admit that they all depend on their service dogs to live a normal life.
Wood shared that her adorable dog Squatch,
"She helps me pick up dropped items".
"She will help me with sleep disorders, nightmares and night terrors," shared DeLisle in regards to his dog Lucia.
However these veterans as well as many others are completely outraged on how many individuals are abusing the system. Unfortunately it appears many have slipped past the official guidelines and have been able to provide fake documentation that says that their family pet is indeed a service dog.
“It’s just outright enraging,” said Miller.
“Just want to be able to take Fifi with them,” said Wood.
Unfortunately there are countless websites online that will provide an individual with paperwork, patches, and even a lifetime subscription to their service dog database as long as they have a credit card.
“There are too many people exploiting it, and the businesses making the fake certifications, all they are doing is seeing a loophole and making money off it,” said Miller.
However due to the Americans with Disibilities Act, many individuals entering public locations with fake certification cannot be stopped or questioned.
“There are only two questions they can ask—‘Is this a service dog?’ and ‘What is your dog trained to do?’” said Brandy Eggemen, who runs Citizen K9 Dog Training in Chesapeake.
“For someone to take advantage of the system like that, it’s just wrong; I don’t know how they can sleep at night,” said Wood.
Because of the increased amount of fake service dogs present, veterans with legitimate service dogs get pinned under the microscope even more.
“She gets looked at and questioned much more,” said Wood.
Many veterans are hoping that Congress will soon get involved in order to create a legitimate certification process to finally eliminate the fakes.
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