I’ll preface this by saying I love dogs. All kinds. I’ll even go further and say I love all animals. Pets, strays, prisoners at zoos… I love them all. In fact, most animals I interact with are probably smarter than most humans I interact with.
But there’s a problem. And it’s with dogs. And not dogs themselves, but with their owners.
Apparently, you can go on eBay and magically turn your favorite canine into a Service Dog with the purchase of a little vest with patches that describe your particular need to have your dog accompany you on the flight. Keep in mind, you need to get your dog certified and licensed for this, much as you would go through the process of getting a legitimate handicapped placard to stick in the window of your car.
I work in the airport environment and the abuse of the dog vest is pretty staggering. When there’s no one to check the legitimacy of your claim that your pet is vital to your successful flight, then who will manage this? Who will be the person to take the tiny Chihuahua away and say “Ma’am, we’re going to need to see your papers or we’re checking the dog into the underbelly of the tank with the rest of the honest people.”
It must be a tough situation, especially since you can buy a realistic looking service dog vest off eBay. Is there paperwork that goes with this? My guess would be YES. But do TSA and the gate checkers have time to verify credentials of every person bringing a dog on board? Nope. Not even. Lines are already enormous and having to play dog gestapo probably isn’t in their scope of work anyway.
So, what do you do? How do you enforce this? I have ideas. None of them would be popular with any of the people who think their dogs are too precious to ride cargo (which, admittedly, is so cruel beyond words… just find a sitter or a kennel).
Nonetheless, this will go unchecked, lest we offend people and remind them what the rules are.
These are probably the same people who use a handicapped sign to park their Mercedes SUV in the handicapped spot at the grocery store. You see them, you know they’re in fine health. They know it too. And they DARE someone to try and call them out on it.
It’s wrong. Law enforcement won’t do anything about it. It’s more of an inconvenience to them to make issue of it than it is to turn a blind eye. Same with the fake handicapped passes. You can buy them on eBay.
Sell your soul and never be inconvenienced again.