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Today: Another Cold Day with a Little More Sun.
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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Fake Service Dogs

XENIA -- Breaking the law to take their pets almost anywhere. Dozens of local folks fake owning a service dog and it's hurting people with real disabilities.

4 Paws for Ability in Xenia trains service dogs and their new owners. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs are allowed to accompany their disabled owner in restaurants, schools, even go onto an airplane without any additional fee.

"We have a right to bring our service dogs in public but the public also has a right to not have our service dogs interfere with them while they're in public as well. So a service dog has to have impeccable manners," said organization CEO Karen Shirk.

But there's a problem: Due to lax government regulations, a lot of people fake owning a service dog.

There are numerous websites where you can buy a service dog vest and ID for just a couple bucks, and you don't even need to show proof that your dog got any type of training at all.

"It's like faking a disability by being in a wheelchair; you don't do it. People are disabled, they can't help it. If they need a dog, don't fake like you need to have it," said Aleesha Debler of Centerville.

"We were stuck on a bus with a fake service dog that was growling the entire time and I was terrified," Shirk added.

In reality, there are no specific requirements for service dog licensing, certification, or training. Service dogs don't actually have to wear a special leash or vest either. The ADA also makes it unlawful to require proof of a disability. All those rules are supposed to protect people with disabilities, but many times it doesn't.

Shirk says because there are so many untrained, fake service dogs walking around, some business owners tend to give the real ones a hard time, which makes basic tasks, like shopping, more difficult for a service dog owner with an actual disability.

 
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