Michael Kelly is blind, and relies on his certified seeing-eye dog, Kie, to help him get around.
While riding the Sacramento Light Rail earlier this month, Kie was attacked by another dog riding the train. The other dog locked it’s mouth onto Kie’s snout, and according to Michael, “[Kie] started screaming.”
The dogs were separated and police were called. To add insult to injury, the other owner told police his dog was a service dog as well.
Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, police weren’t able to ask the man what job his dog performed, or ask to see any documentation. The ADA is meant to protect people with disabilities like Michael, but sadly, it’s often abused and “fake” service dogs are popping up all over. This is unfortunate, because it often causes issues for people with a legitimate need as the authenticity of their service and emotional support animals are being called into question.
When police reminded the man that they have surveillance cameras in the train, he came clean and admitted that his dog is not a trained service dog or an emotional support animal, but is just a pet.
Service dogs like Kie undergo rigorous training from puppyhood to keep them calm and perform a specific job. They have to ignore instincts every day and put the needs of their owners before their own. To claim that an untrained dog is a service dog is an insult to trainers and dogs with serious jobs that often keep their humans alive.
Kie has already put the attack behind him, and went right back to work immediately – he is a professional, after all.
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