Advocates for Disabled Americans, Veterans, Police, Firemen & Families (ADA VETs), works with members, volunteers, clients and family members, (including our own service dog!) that have service dogs. They are companions in the truest sense of the word. They are valuable family members, protectors, amazingly intuitive, sensitive, strong, loving, caring, and I could go on and on…They provide a very essential service for the disabled. They provide the actual service of guiding.
We constantly get questions about service dog certification. ADA VETs is going to be providing recognition for service dogs. However, this is not just a piece of paper, or a certificate.
Certification does not mean an individual dog is a service dog. Neither does registration or an official looking ID. There are several businesses selling fake certification, registration and IDs over the internet. All a person needs to do to get these products is pay a fee. Their dog is never tested and their disability is never verified. All the product really means is that the person was willing to pay money to get it.
How can you tell a REAL service dog if ID cards and certificates are actually meaningless? The US Department of Justice permits businesses to ask two questions:
1. Is this a service dog required because of disability?
2. What is it trained to do to mitigate the disability?
Additionally, if the animal behaves inappropriately, by disrupting business, behaving aggressively, interfering with other patrons or clients (say by sniffing them or jumping up on them), or toileting inappropriately, then it doesn’t matter whether it is a service dog because you can still exclude it on the basis of “fundamental alteration” or “direct threat.”
BE WARNED: when you see a fake certification, it is a STRONG indication that the dog is not a legitimate service dog. People with legitimate service dogs tend to be familiar with laws and know that certification is not required.
Examples of certification/registration/ID for a fee schemes:
SARA (Service Animal Registry of America)
USARplus (United Service Animal Registry) *
Goldstar German Shepherds
SDA (Service Dogs America)
Registered Service Dog
SDCA (Service Dog Certification of America, aka Certify My Dog)
NSAR (National Service Animal Registry)
American Service Dogs
Service Dog ID
Certified Service Dog
National Association of Service Dogs
Service Dog Tags, aka emotionalsupportanimals dot org **
Free My Paws
CRTASA (Canadian Registry of Therapy Animals and Service Animals)
USSDR (United States Service Dog Registry) - registration is free, but they also sell official looking certificates and ID
Note: Not a single service listed above tests the dogs they certify, register, or ID. They do nothing to verify the dog’s training or the owner’s disability. All that is required is that the purchaser fill out a form with the information for the certificate and where to mail it, and include payment ranging from $35 to over $200 depending on the package being purchased.
We will recognize the abilities of a service dog by providing the owner with a certificate stating that the dog is a legitimate service dog. We will provide the owner with a service dog vest and ADA VETs service dog patch. We will be charging a fee for the vest and the patch since the funds will go right back into the organization so that we can continue to provide our services most of which are free of charge.