The two questions most often asked of the Service Dog Central community are:
1. Where do I get a service dog vest?
2. How do I get my dog certified as a service dog?
Sadly, we are aware that the vast majority of people asking these two questions are actually wanting to find a way to pass their personal pet off as a service dog so they can take it on a plane, keep it in "no pets" housing, or avoid pet fees from hotels or landlords.
Aside from what this can do to legitimate teams that consist of a person with a disability and a highly trained dog that assists them in doing the sorts of things those pet owners take for granted being able to do, there are reasons no to do it for the sake of both the pet, and the pet owner.
There are criminal penalties for falsely claiming a pet as a service animal. These penalties can range from a small fine, to one over $1,000 or a few days in jail up to a year in jail, depending on how the offense is committed and where. In some cases, the dog is confiscated and the owner may have a lengthy court battle to get the dog back. So if you're thinking of passing your pet off as a service dog, check out this article first and find out whether it's worth it: _______ Zach's article under construction ___________
Now the short answer to the big two questions.
1. If you don't already know where to get a vest, then odds are you shouldn't be getting one anyway. There's a lot more to a service dog than the outfit it wears. It typically takes 18-24 months to fully train a service dog. While individuals are permitted to train their own service dog, that doesn't mean they are automatically capable. If you do not already have experience doing advanced training with working dogs, then you do not have sufficient experience to train a service dog on your own. You need to hire a pro, and that pro can direct you to dog supply resources. If you are determined to fake, then you can find fake vests in dozens of places on the internet with a very basic search and don't need to be asking us.
2. There is no legitimate service dog certification or registration in the United States. Some programs will certify the dogs they train and test, and some do not. Those certificates are the only ones that actually mean anything, and they only mean anything if you have to go to court and prove your dog is trained. They are not required, they are merely useful documentation for the dog's training, which could be substantiated by other means. You don't need them for public access, or housing, or flying, or anything else. All other certificates, registration, and ID is fake. The intent is to fool the public into thinking the dog is official, when there is no official documentation for service dogs. Most often, these products are used by fakers, so when you see them, it is a screaming red flag that the dog is not a legitimate service dog.
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