Seeing-eye dog fraud? ‘Fifi in a vest’ gets in the way
Apparently, seeing-eye dog fraud represents a real problem – so much so that a division of the California Department of Consumer Affairs plans to launch a campaign to combat the issue of seeing-eye shysters.
“For guide dog users in particular they are impacted, because some people pose their pets as service animals and those dogs may end up impeding a dog going from Point A to Point B, or distracting or getting in the way of a guide dog that’s working with their partner,” said Antonette Sorrick, an executive officer at the State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Basically, dog owners want to bring their beloved pooches into normally prohibited areas – “the benefit is you get to dress up Fifi in a vest that says service animal and you get to bring him to restaurants, hotels, airlines what have you,” Sorrick explained.
The issue is widespread enough that guide dog users have suffered detrimental effects, Sorrick said, including establishments treating helper dogs skeptically.
Misrepresenting a pet is a misdemeanor in California, but the seven-member board decided on Monday to pursue a public education campaign and, perhaps, a new law.
– Jeremy B. White