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Disrespected by impostors

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Letter to the Editor
Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Regarding The Associated Press news story “Impostor service animals posing growing problem across U.S.” (Oct. 11 and TribLIVE.com): Media stories on “impostor service dogs” are increasing regarding public access of people who “pass” their pets as service dogs.

In addition to public access, there are different laws around housing, employment and air travel that are not addressed.

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the rights of people with disabilities, with the Justice Department enforcing service-dog laws.

Vests and badges do not make a service dog. A service dog can be any breed and is defined as a dog that is “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability.”

Pets in a store that has food present a health risk to other customers and a business risk to owners.

This is not a harmless law to break and it is the law, not a policy or rule. Theft is theft and stealing the identity of a person with a disability is no less egregious than other crimes.

Respect the rights of the owners of service dogs, which enhance the quality of their lives.

I am left wondering: Is it the human or the dog that is the impostor?

Lorre Leon Mendelson

Nashville, Tenn.

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