Oklahoma City, Okla -- 2 year old Labrador Retriever, Dennis is the arms and legs for artist, Greg Burns. Burns said, "It just makes life a lot easier."
More & more Oklahomans are now passing off pets as service dogs. It's an easy rule to break; A law that some "impostors" admit to us, they ignore. One man told us, "I would take her out to get her familiarized. I think, PetSmart, Target sometimes. So, yes. I have bent the rules."
There are websites galore, selling official looking ID cards and service dog vests to ANYONE. We ordered a cape on EBay.
$33 dollars & three days later, and we had a free pass to take our untrained pooch anywhere that dogs are banned.
Under the Americans with disabilities act, it is a federal crime to use a fake service dog. But privacy laws make it nearly impossible to enforce. Business owners are restricted in what they can ask. "Is the animal a service animal?" and "what tasks has it been trained to perform?"
But no license is required to identify a real from a phony. Burns said, "It's like people using their relative's handicapped parking pass just to park in a handicapped place."
Not only is it unethical to impersonate a disabled person by dressing up a dog, unruly fakes are a concern for business owners, who worry about health code violations and damage to merchandise.
And they pose a real danger to the disabled community. New Leash On Life Director, Barbara Lewis told us, "A seizure dog has to really pay attention to their person all the time. So, if they are distracted for 5 minutes, that might be the 5 minutes they needed to let that person know, you're getting ready to have a seizure."
Greg Burns says his life is already hard enough wth confusion & discrimination. And now, cheaters with their untrained pets, are making matters even worse. Burns said,"It's really a bad thing. It shouldn't happen and if anyone is doing it now, I would suggest you think about what you're doing and consider the consequences of it."