Raise a Paw for The PROS

Text that says Celebrating The Pros with a logo of a service dog looking at a yellow heart with Service Dog Month text in a circle

September is National Service Dog Month and we’re celebrating the PROS — service dogs who help people with disabilities live with greater independence.

Service dog fraud has a real impact on the partnerships between people with disabilities and their service dogs. Raise a paw for service dogs and sign our pledge today!

A service dog is specially trained to do specific tasks or work to help a person with a disability, helping to reduce the impact of their handler’s disability.

Dogs whose sole job is to provide comfort are known as emotional support dogs, and don’t have the same right as service dogs to be in public. When untrained pets, emotional support dogs or poorly trained service dogs are in public places where pets aren’t allowed, it has a significant impact on people with disabilities and the service dogs they rely on for independence. Not only do out of control pets in public distract working service dogs, but they also pose a threat to the health and safety of the person with a disability and their service dog.

Misrepresenting a pet as a service dog is against the law and has serious consequences for people with disabilities who use task-trained service dogs.

Canine Companions recently surveyed service dog users from organizations accredited by Assistance Dogs International – a worldwide coalition of not-for-profit programs that train and place service dogs – about the impacts of untrained pets or poorly trained service or emotional support dogs on their lives.

Here’s what we learned: 

  • 93% report that they have encountered a poorly trained or out of control service or emotional support dog in public. 
  • 79% had an uncontrolled dog snap at, bite, bark at or interfere with their service dog while at a public place where pet dogs are not allowed. 
  • 78% report that poorly-trained or out-of-control service or emotional support dogs have had a negative impact on independence and quality of life. 

It’s important that policy makers understand the impact of service dog fraud so they can ensure our laws properly protect service dog users, including our clients who graduated from Canine Companions. Once we have enough signatures, we’ll send our pledge to those officials. Raise your paw for service dogs today!