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Blind man reveals the struggle of using a service dog after rise in ‘fake’ service animals

There are people that rely on service dogs for their everyday functioning. In the past they were mostly associated with blind people, known as seeing eye dogs or guide dogs. But service dogs are trained to do all sorts of things, recognize when someone is about to have a seizure, a diabetic emergency and more. They’re truly highly trained life saving animals that need to go where their humans go so they can do their job–alert them so they can be safe.

This vital role service dogs play is the reason their existence in public spaces is protected by federal law, even if that establishment doesn’t allow dogs. But there has been an uptick in people attempting to treat their Emotional Support Animals (ESA) as service animals or acquiring fake paperwork. ESAs are not trained professionally to be in public spaces and just about any animal can become an ESA with some paperwork usually completed by a mental health professional.

Service dogs are typically trained professionally for 1-2 years before they’re released to their new family full time. The process of getting a service dog can cost anywhere from $15k-$50k according to GoodRX. But the rise of imposter service dogs is causing real life issues. One man took to social media to explain how he was asked to leave a business due to his seeing eye dog.

Paul is blind and uses a seeing eye dog in public spaces, he shared a video to his social media page, Matthew and Paul explaining the ordeal and why he thinks it happened. “I’m blind and I just got kicked out of a restaurant in Seattle. I walked in with my guide dog Mister Maple and immediately somebody walked up to me and said ‘no pets allowed only service dogs.'”

Paul says he confirmed that Mister Maple was indeed a service dog before the man asked if he was an emotional support dog. After showing the man his dog’s guide dog harness which was attached to the dog, the man accused him of lying about his blindness.

“A lot of people in the blind community still have functional vision,” Paul recalls saying. “But it’s like I have a pinhole of vision, it’s all I can see.”

The man supposedly tells Paul, “it’s not my first rodeo,” after hearing the explanation of why he has a guide dog. But when the bewildered blind man offers to come back with Mister Maples paperwork the man threatens to call the police.

In the caption of Paul’s video he writes, “this is just a reminder that if you or someone you know has purchased a fake service dog vest or fake papers, it may be contributing to a larger problem that impacts those who really need these amazing dogs!”

You can watch the entire shocking story below:

Source: Upworthy
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