Jun
20
2017

The Dangers of Misclassifying a Service Animal

The Dangers of Misclassifying a Service AnimalService animals of all types have long been praised for their loyalty to the humans they serve. While these trained animals by definition have a job to do, there are some people who abuse the system and label a pet as a service animal when it does not have sufficient training or credentials. This happens all too frequently, causing a risk of injury, bites and bad behavior in a public setting. In this article, we’re going to explore the dangers people face when claiming their pet is a service animal. Regardless if your dog is a pet or a service animal, the best way you can protect your four-legged friend is with a Canine Liability policy.

What classifies a service dog?

Anything Pawsable explains that individuals with a disability who partner with a service dog require their dog in order to gain an additional degree of independence and functioning they would not otherwise possess. Their canine partner is not merely “company” or a “companion.” If you are not disabled and your dog does not have a fixed set of duties performed to diminish the impact of that disability, your dog is not a service dog.

Service dogs undergo training.

Service dogs are not merely meant to make someone feel better. In fact, all service dogs are required to undergo rigorous training that requires hundreds, if not thousands of hours to complete. Without this specialized training, a dog is not a service animal. More specifically, service animals are required to maintain a certain temperament, an aptitude for training, obedience training, socialization, and specific skill training to serve their purpose.

What are the risks of misclassifying a dog?

Distracted service dogs can result in the owner suffering an injury. From mobility support to blood sugar monitoring, service dogs can get distracted by other pets who are not trained and whose owners are not in control.

Pets run the risk of misbehaving, becoming overwhelmed by the public attention, and reacting negatively. Bear in mind that service dogs undergo intensive public training so that they are able to focus on their handlers as opposed to getting distracted by noises, smells, and sights. If someone claimed their pet was a service animal but was not recognized as one by the ADA, the owner could face significant consequences, especially if there was an injury involved.

About FIDO

There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.

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