This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
  • bizarro Nov 26, 10:56 a.m.

    People with fake service dogs are as bad as people faking a handicap to cut lines at Disney

  • johcar10 Nov 20, 5:53 p.m.

    I was upset by this story. I know Zeus and his owner. When he was asked to leave the flea market he was sitting at Mr
    Blackmon's feet like he was taught to do. I have seen him alert Mr Blackmon to move and take meds when his blood preasure dropped. When you read a story about a dog that saved a life you believe it though you did not see it happen. Monica did not see Zeus respond to a medical need because it didn't happen in front of her. Does that mean it doesn't happen?

  • lonespiritpc Nov 20, 1:49 p.m.

    The most important thing is that you have full control of your dog at all times.

  • lonespiritpc Nov 20, 1:40 p.m.

    2) While entering a building, your dog should walk beside you. The dog's attention should not be diverted nor should it want to investigate other areas of the building

    3) Inside a building or public transportation the dog should not be distracted by other people or try to go to them. Most people realize it is improper to pet a service animal. The animal should not want attention from other persons surrounding you.

    4) In a restaurant, your dog should be comfortable on the floor beside you or under the table. The dog should not be expecting food from the table and should not be startled by foot traffic in a restaurant.

    5) When a person, adult or child approaches your dog to pet them. The dog should look to you for guidance. The dog should allow petting by others without any aggressive behavior

    6) Your dog should obey all commands without hesitating. Sit and stay should be a onetime command

    The forgoing information is just a general guideline for working with your dog in public. The

  • lonespiritpc Nov 20, 1:38 p.m.

    Does My Dog Qualify As A Service Dog

    It is illegal to represent that you require a service animal, unless you have a disability requiring such a dog a Service Dog must perform a task to assist a person with a disability.

    The First Step

    Working with your dog in Public

    The law: You may be asked to remove your service dog from a premises if:

    1) The animal is out of control and the animal's owner does not take effective action to control it
    2) The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

    The following questions are to assist you in determining if your service animal is qualified to assist you in public

    General Requirements:

    1) When walking in public, your dog must obey your commands and not be distracted by outside influences, noise or other animals and people.

    2) While entering a building, your dog should walk beside you. The dog's attention should not be diverted nor should it want to investigate other areas of the b

  • lonespiritpc Nov 20, 1:26 p.m.

    For those people with Service Dogs who for whatever reason need advise, help with problem behaviors, help when faced with discrimination, finding doctors, rules for travailing or anything information please contact www.ServiceDog411.com
    For help on whether your dog qualifies as a Service Dog http://www.servicedogsamerica.org
    If you are disabled and find your rights violated or just need assistance contact Disability Rights NC:
    Toll-Free: 877-235-4210
    Phone: 919-856-2195
    TTY: 888-268-5535
    Fax: (919) 856-2244 Email: info@disabilityrightsnc.org Physical and Mailing Address: 2626 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 550 Raleigh, NC 27608

    This report will cause many people with real Service Dogs to be challenged. It was done poorly and totally one sided.

  • lonespiritpc Nov 20, 1:09 p.m.

    First let me say this reporter story is one sided. She is a Puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independents so her information is based on only professional training of Service Dogs.
    The Federal Law allows people with disabilities to train their on Service Dogs.
    Second the reason the number of Service Dogs vast increase in numbers in the last three years is due to the Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD which by law these dogs are Service Dogs and trained by special schools helping Veterans with PTSD. So there are not as many people cheating as it seems.
    Third the two men in the report both have fully qualified Service Dogs. If you listen the the smaller man he said he is afraid his own dog will react to other dogs cause the dog does not do well around other dogs, but his interview was at/in front of a store. The man with the Great Dane was interviewed at a dog park and Monica knew his dog did not do well with other dogs. Zeus has been reviewed by the VA Hosp.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 20, 12:31 p.m.

    @woold2, “I regularly take my dog to both of these stores in Oregon...If these stores do not want the dogs in them, then they should post a sign like all other sto[res]”

    Translation: “The store didn’t have a 3 foot high sign posted at every entrance in 100 point black font on white background, specifically excluding my service monkey, so I thought it was perfectly fine to...”

    Meanwhile, the rest of us follow the rules. Get over your self-entitlement. This Service Dog story is for you and others who share your selfish mentality.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 20, 11:38 a.m.

    @NuGamma, please be patient with those of us who may question you.

    There are way too many healthy people (or those healed of their disability) taking advantage of those handicap placards, just like the people in this story taking advantage of service dogs.

    I have a friend in his 70's who just had both knees replaced. He used a handicap placard for a month and then threw his 5 Year handicap placard in the trash. He still walks slowly, but from further away from the door. Conversely, there are plenty of lazy, selfish people out there...like those in scamming with Service Dogs.

    Oh, and the best response for a handicap parking violator? "Don't let this be the only time that you put yourself in their place."

  • NuGamma Nov 20, 10:50 a.m.

    I am disabled. I have two (2) placards which were generated by my doctors and DMV for which I have paid dearly to obtain. I drive a sports car. I have been utterly shocked by the number of people and their rude remarks regarding what they don't see! Sometimes, as in my case, you'll NEVER SEE my disability, unless you follow me in the store and watch me hurridly move toward the electric shopping carts! I was at the hospital one night and heard this big commotion about my car being in a handicapped parking space!! The placards were clearly visible through the windows, hanging from my rear view mirror!! My daughter tells me these are "haters", but I just can't believe anyone with average intelligence could react so negatively. I have the right to drive the car I like as well as the next person!

  • NuGamma Nov 20, 9:18 a.m.

    I am disabled. I have two placards. I have a sports car. I have 2 serious disabilities. My car has been modified for one of my disabilities. As soon as I get out of my car, the stares, the whispers and yes even some ignorant people who have stepped to me with accusotory questions! Just know those people will not step to me again!!! The kind of car I drive does not have anything to do with my disabilities! Just as you choose your car, so do I!!

  • SaveEnergyMan Nov 20, 9:10 a.m.

    “I think it points to the general slide of our culture into selfishness,” Kevin Korobko

    Nailed it. Totally agree with GALNC and scubagirl2 too - selfishness permeates our culture and costs us all in so many unseen ways.

  • scubagirl2 Nov 19, 6:36 p.m.

    "It's really amazing how people always think the laws don't apply to them.... handicap spaces and service dogs...GALNC"

    and speed limits, and traffic laws, and texting and driving, and drinking and driving, and, and and...It's all about 'ME' and it's disgusting!!!

  • GALNC Nov 19, 4:35 p.m.

    It's really amazing how people always think the laws don't apply to them.... handicap spaces and service dogs

    Service dogs are for those who need them. They provide assistance..not emotional support because your boyfriend broke up with you.

    I have a pet, but no restaurants, shopping etc. Sometimes depending on the weather..he may ride in the car, but they STAY in the car with the windows cracked.

  • gingerlynn Nov 19, 4:17 p.m.

    My brother in law took his dog to a few therapy dog classes. Now he uses this fact, plus the vest, to check the dog into hotels that don't normally allow animals. What is really sad is he has a history of bending rules for his convenience. Now he has teenage kids and he wonders why, after years of them learning from the best, they lie at the drop of a hat. You reap what you sew!

  • CharmedLife Nov 19, 4:07 p.m.

    Dishonest people make things harder for those who truly need assistance

  • kikinc Nov 19, 4:00 p.m.

    “He is the best (expletive) emotional support … after my boyfriend broke up with me”

    Jeez. Get over yourself. People get dumped every day. When I broke up with a boyfriend years ago, my cat was the best support...AT HOME! If you need a dog to comfort you in public over a breakup, you have some serious issues.

  • silkesmom Nov 19, 3:22 p.m.

    Have you ever noticed how people think laws and rules only apply to "other" people? Folks speed, park in handicapped spaces, put their pets in service capes, ignore neighborhood covenents, etc. So many self-centered egotists.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 19, 2:59 p.m.

    To Mr. Blackmon in the story,

    If you buy a car with a handicap placard already hanging from the rearview mirror...do you think that entitles *you* to park in handicapped spots? Sheesh.

  • rescuefan Nov 19, 2:56 p.m.

    Maybe the lab was a seizure alert dog or a dog who would alert their owner if the owner is diabetic and their blood sugar starts to drop. That was my point earlier, too many people immediately rush to make a judgment without knowing what (if any) service the dog is providing.

    Some of that is because there are too many people faking a disability so that they can take their pets with them everywhere. Some of it is ignorance on the part of the observer who is too ready and willing to assume that a dog isn't providing a service because they can't "see" any disability.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 19, 2:49 p.m.

    These are the same folks parking in Handicap spots when they're not physically handicapped.

    “Why would you do that to someone who’s already at a disadvantage because of their physical limitation? Just because you can’t be separated from your pet for an hour?” he said.

    That's right. It's selfish and inconsiderate. It's anti "do unto others" behavior.

    This is the same mindset that allows folks to park in Handicap spots when they're not physically handicapped.

  • alwaysconcernedmom Nov 19, 2:20 p.m.

    I saw a lady in the grocery dept of Walmart last night reading the ingredients on Yogurt with a lab with her. She was pushing her buggy and had the dog on a leash. She did not appear to have a disability although I know you can't always tell.

    I wonder what assistance her K9 provided for her? The dog did not act like a service dog. All service dogs I have observed are very quiet and totally tuned into their owners.

    People that take advantage like this should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Obamacare for one and all Nov 19, 2:19 p.m.

    I wish I could say this surprises me, but it really doesn't.

  • common tater Nov 19, 2:06 p.m.

    I'm with Rachel...there's always those who will abuse the system. We've become a society where dogs are considered as important as humans...sad. As for the handicap parking: if you can walk 50 yards into the big box store then spend an hour walking around a 80,000 square foot concrete slab, you don't need a placard. People with a placard in the car will use it even when the disabled person isn't along. The problem is there's zero enforcement.

  • grimreaper Nov 19, 1:55 p.m.

    Sounds like another government regulation tax (aka fee) opportunity...So maybe first you should be required to take a class and pass a test an pay for that...then apply for your working dog license say $40 a year to "register" the dog and get a certificate and a card you MUST carry and present with ID to any police officer...sounds fair to me...

  • saywhut Nov 19, 1:13 p.m.

    What a great story Monica. THANK YOU for bringing this abuse to light! Those who misuse the vests and make it harder for those with real disabilities need to be stopped.

  • woold2 Nov 19, 12:22 p.m.

    This was a well written story. I think the part that bothered me the most about it though was when this was stated: " Korobko said. “If (Glenda) gets excited, she’s going to rip my arm off."
    If this is a certified guide dog, then (Glenda) should be trained to ignore all other dogs and be totally tuned into her person. So her owner saying this leads me think the dog is not doing it's job if he is worried that she may get excited if another dog approaches her.
    I also agree that people are abusing the system, just how they have been abusing the system for decades in all aspects of life.
    But I do not agree with the person who has a problem with dogs going into Lowels or Home Depot. I regularly take my dog to both of these stores in Oregon. They are welcomed and it gives me some training time out in public to make sure my dog keeps up on his training and acts responsively to my commands. If these stores do not want the dogs in them, then they should post a sign like all other sto

  • fisherfindings Nov 19, 12:06 p.m.

    Folks, please also be aware that it is possible to train your own dog to be your service dog. It takes a lot of effort and training and a dog with the right personality. But don't assume that a "program" trained dog is the only way to go. Though there is no official certification process, I and others like me advocate for passing various tests to be certain the dog is both well trained and appropriate for public access. My dog has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen. He's a certified therapy dog. And he can easily pass the ADI Public Access Test. Most "pet" dogs all too frequently could not pass one of those tests. So, whether program or owner trained, these dogs are highly trained to help the handler better face the world.

    Also, it's the disabled person that has the access rights. The dog does not. So, I can enter a restaurant with my dog. But my wife does not have the right to take him into public without me. Think of the dog as the medical device to assist the disabled person.

  • rachel Nov 19, 11:08 a.m.

    The problem is its against the law to ask anything more than two questions- "is it a service dog" and "what is the dog trained to do"-heaven forbid someone actually asks another question-there is no common sense allowed in the law- I have seen the dogs in grocery carts, hand bags, stuffed in shopping bags and smuggled onto trains-I have also seen the people driving,park in the handicapped spots and then fish in their purses to pull out a handicap windshield tag-then walk quickly into the store-no limp, no shortness of breath, no cane, and they don't use the scooter in the store, so obviously they can get around just fine-it makes those who play be the rules angry and it also sets up those who are fed up with the special rules for one group over the other to figure out ways to join "the group"- yes, the fakers are nasty-but for some people with issues watching someone else "get away" with something just makes them want to do it to.

  • MyNameIsMud Nov 19, 10:05 a.m.

    "What's sad is, I went to Walmart over the summer and a woman had a chichuachua in her purse and she was letting it lick off her fingers and then would touch grocery items on the shelves. Walmart managers said their hands were tied. "

    I'm sure that the Wake Count Health Department would be happy help the WalMart managers untie their hands. That response was inexcusable.

  • MyNameIsMud Nov 19, 10:04 a.m.

    "A couple of months ago, we went to Lowes and an older couple had a small little dog (not even on a leash) walking around with them. They let the dog mess on the floor and left it there. My husband almosted stepped in it."

    I have seen dogs in Lowes many times. Lowes corporate headquarters in Charlotte confirmed that dogs are not allowed in their hardware stores. I have NEVER seen a Lowes employee stop and confront a dog owner with a dog at the store. This should be included in employee orientation. Also, whenever I see a customer with a non-service dog in a grocery store I immediately inform the manager and leave. The customer should be asked to leave immediately.

  • brandy213122 Nov 19, 9:17 a.m.

    What's sad is, I went to Walmart over the summer and a woman had a chichuachua in her purse and she was letting it lick off her fingers and then would touch grocery items on the shelves. Walmart managers said their hands were tied. A couple of months ago, we went to Lowes and an older couple had a small little dog (not even on a leash) walking around with them. They let the dog mess on the floor and left it there. My husband almosted stepped in it. I am all for making the ADA come up with cards for owners of service dogs and only allowing them to give out vests. If drivers license have a special "water mark" than maybe they should do that. If that card isn't with the dog owner, than dog and owner shouldn't be allowed in. Other dogs are a risk to actual service dogs, their owners, and other people. Are they waiting for someone to get hurt?

  • foodstamptrader Nov 19, 9:13 a.m.

    "and just as i resent those who park in handicap parking without need, i resent those who would cheat the system by calling their pet a service dog......" - rushbot

    The senior community my MIL lives does not allow dogs. Except "service" animals. These dogs can be of great service to some that need them.

    But, this policy opened the door to everyone that wants to have a dog getting one.

    The place is now filled with yapping, ill behaved dogs. It was meant to be a place of peace and quiet. Not good...

  • foodstamptrader Nov 19, 9:10 a.m.

    There is an outfit in Chapel Hill supposedly training expensive "service dogs". They recently killed one of their own dogs by locking it in a hot vehicle. One of the training "experts" was brought up on criminal negligence charges and the case is ongoing.

    This bogus outfit wants to continue to operate! The woman who killed this poor dog (Worthy) is continuing to "train"! It is obscene the arrogance and disregard some of these people have. No wonder so much of it is a scam....

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Nov 19, 8:59 a.m.

    Seriously?? People go to this much trouble just so they can take their dog to the grocery store or a restaurant? They can't live without their dog for an hour or two?

    Oh, and for the people who say documentation should be required, the article says that you can get fake documentation from the same place that you get a fake vest.

  • rushbot Nov 19, 8:59 a.m.

    i am a disabled vet in decline and am in the process of training my dog to become my service dog..i have an over 2 year training program i have set forth for him..sometime next spring he'll become a therapy dog and after a year start the service dog training..at the end of it, he will be calm in the face of excitement (he is not now), carry medical items for me in panniers (o2 tank) and other items..and provide me with stability as i walk..he will ultimately assist me to stand from a chair.. .. ..service dogs provide an extremely valuable service to their owners... ...and just as i resent those who park in handicap parking without need, i resent those who would cheat the system by calling their pet a service dog......

  • rescuefan Nov 19, 8:58 a.m.

    It's sad when people take advantage, but people also need to be careful to not judge a book by its cover, so to speak.

    There are service dogs out there that are seizure alert dogs or who alert their diabetic owners when their sugar levels are off. They don't have to be big breed dogs to do that sort of thing, so they may not "look" like service dogs, but they still are. So, just because they don't look like expect a service dog to look, that doesn't mean that they aren't actually working dogs.

    As for handicapped placards. Again, you can't judge a book by its cover. My husband has muscular dystrophy and has 20+ surgeries on his feet. Nobody can see the scars because he has shoes on, but he has a hard time walking distances and has a handicapped placard. Just because you can't see the disability doesn't mean it's not there.

  • readme Nov 19, 8:45 a.m.

    People are horrible sometimes. The sad thing is people who go to these lengths with their dog probably feel there is nothing at all wrong with it and the other 7 billion of us are wrong.

  • Minarchist Nov 19, 8:32 a.m.

    Take my gun and my dog. I can still have my fist?

  • A person Nov 19, 8:22 a.m.

    I saw a woman bring her dog into Food Lion one da. She put it in the shopping cart. No one that worked there said a word to her. The dog was obviously Not a "service dog". I left my food at the register and do not shop there any more. Service dogs are no problem as they are trained what to and what not to do. A lap dogs are a problem ion a grocery store. If a manager does no know the difference, I will no shop in their store. It is very easy to distinguish between a lap dog and a service dog, just offer them a treat. A service dog will not take it from you

  • A person Nov 19, 8:18 a.m.

    In a country of "fools and low-lifes" what do you expect. This is not a country of givers, it is a country of leeches and takers I'm not sure what has happened to this once great country, buy it is not the country I grow up to love, respect, and defend. You can have it

  • oleguy Nov 18, 7:55 p.m.

    Dont get me started on people and their dogs,, Service dogs GREAT,, Lap sitters and face lickers well I can do without,, Riding a dog around in a shopping cart, Really, People cant go to Lowes without a dog,, Jeez,, Dogs aint people or children

  • jdupree Nov 18, 7:47 p.m.

    Same thing happens with handicap parking. If you watch parking spaces for a while, you will see perfectly healthy people park in these spaces, obviously using some else's handicap sticker. These are low life sorry people.

  • emaleth Nov 18, 7:45 p.m.

    I saw a woman with a small fluffy dog in her Wal-mart cart once, just riding around in the store with her. She was walking, and did not appear to be blind or disabled in any way. She saw me looking at her quizzically, and she angrily yelled at me that it was a service dog. Hm.. somehow I didn't believe her. It didn't have on a vest, either.

  • mbm07172 Nov 18, 7:25 p.m.

    My son has a service dog from Canine Companions for Independence. It was an expensive, lengthy process and so worth it. Only two businesses ever gave us a hard time, and once the manager came out everything worked out. Floppy, the lab, has a harness for seeing-eye dogs, and a vest. We never go any where without our ID card from the trainer but I have never had to show it. But we also park in handicap parking- but that isn't hard to obtain and people scam those permits too. The thing is not everyone who is disabled and who really needs a dog LOOKS like they are disabled.

  • DaBear Nov 18, 7:20 p.m.

    Sounds like the same type of people who have no problems using handicap documentation not intended for them.

  • sinew1 Nov 18, 7:10 p.m.

    WELL SAID!!!!!! If a person with a handicap parking permit has to carry documentation, then why not a person with a service dog? No documentation, no entry. Plus, causing any problem on the streets or other public place warrants having to produce documentation. No documentation, get fined. We need to protect those who really need these animals. froggygirl

  • choatejoseph Nov 18, 6:38 p.m.

    I have a service dog and under ADA guidelines certification is not needed. However, only a disabled person under the umbrella as a protected class member may have a service dog without certification by ADA guidelines. There are requirements for business owners and the service dogs. The dogs can be asked to be removed if certain criteria is not met. However, through the NC Dept. of Health and Human services a certification card is given in conjunction with a tag to true service dogs. Also, by NC statutes only dogs in training must wear vests. It is true that vests can be bought online and some people give out service dog credentials without ever seeing the dog. I have a NC registration because it puts business owners at ease and gives them the reassurance needed. Service dogs are very expensive, time intensive, highly trained dogs and do not need to be endangered by untrained, unruly dogs (people) in public. The dogs have to concentrate on their owners and nothing else.

  • luvstoQ Nov 18, 6:21 p.m.

    You know what really burns me up? Business owners can really get in 'big' trouble if they refuse a 'true' service dog on their premises, they can't ask for papers, so scammers with their dog can have a 'free' ride basically. You SHOULD, IMO be asked to show proof that your dog is a service animal. People that need them should not be offended (actually should be glad) and others can be caught (instead of an honest business owner).

  • froggygirl Nov 18, 6:10 p.m.

    If a person with a handicap parking permit has to carry documentation, then why not a person with a service dog? No documentation, no entry. Plus, causing any problem on the streets or other public place warrants having to produce documentation. No documentation, get fined. We need to protect those who really need these animals.

Oldest First