Photos by: bobbymn / Bigstock.com
Animal impersonation is on the rise, and Canadian provincial officials are looking to put an end to it through tougher legislation.
They are obedient, they are well mannered, and to the untrained eye, they are service dogs that don in required equipment and provide assistance to their owner physically, mentally, or emotionally.
But look closer, because these fake boys are part of a growing challenge that has caused British Columbia to amend its Dog Guide and Dog Service code.
Yes, believe it or not it’s called service animal plagiarism and BC will be among the first in Canada to address an issue that experts say has escalated sharply in recent years.
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You see, where service dogs were of larger breeds, usually recognizable by their full body harness used to lead the visually impaired, today’s version has a range of skills that handle a range of other, less visible disabilities and commands the size when it comes to size. education. From alerting a hearing-impaired owner to certain sounds, warning a diabetic of changes in blood sugar levels to providing therapy to those suffering from PTSD, the growing diversity of skills and types of dogs used as service dogs makes it very difficult to spot cheating.
And in this world full of adventure and the Internet, fake dog IDs and guided dog sandals are just a click away.
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So why would a single parent disguise his exotic dog as a service dog? And motives seem to range from reluctance to part with the little guy during air or rail travel, to getting the coveted thumbs up when bringing a Rover into a restaurant to even securing the discounts many vets offer clients with working dogs.
Well, sneaky house maneuvers sure, but who cares? Legit trainers do. The International Guide Dog Federation is concerned that without the rigorous training and socialization skills that service dogs receive to ensure they are comfortable interacting with the public, untrained animals can provide a false sense of security to airlines, food establishments and other pet owners who expect certain actions. .
With no federal regulations around the registration of service animals, the BC Act intends to address the problem by issuing all legitimate teams with provincial ID cards.
Dogs trained by schools recognized under the world’s leading regulatory bodies – the International Guide Dog Federation or International Dogs International Assistance – will automatically receive a provincial ID. Those seeking canine partners from non-approved facilities or taking a self-training approach must pass their provincial exams to ensure that their performance and behavior are up to international standards.
I guess that means the next time you try to enter BC Bar with Toto in tow, prepare to be carded!