Now we have fake service animals.
News Radio 1200 WOAI reports police in twenty states have begun investigations into what they call 'service animal fraud.'
That is essentially when people take advantage of support for veterans and the disabled, and buy a vest for their pup so they can take the dog into all sorts of places where animals are generally forbidden, like restaurants.
Sheri Soltes, who heads up Texas-based 'Service Dogs Incorporated,' tells News Radio 1200 WOAI that the problem is 'bad and getting worse.
'"Usually the way we find out about it is when a dog that doesn't have any training misbehaves, which is a bad reflection on the legitimate industry," she said.
Advocates for the disabled say service dogs are a major asset to people who are suffering from conditions ranging from blindness to PTSD to physical injuries or ailments. They're worried that service animal fraud will lead more and more retailers and businesses to crack down on service animal access in general.
Soltes says businesses do have the right to question customers about the dogs they try to bring into the establishment.
"What they are allowed to ask is 'A-is that a service dog, and B-what tasks does he do for you'."
Minnesota has just passed a law that would make it a crime to falsely claim that a pet is a service animal, and support is growing for a similar law in Texas.Lawmakers proposed a law in the 2017 session but it did not pass.