Conneaut Lake Bark Park

Are You Misrepresenting A Therapy Dog?

As testers/evaluators for our local pet therapy dog organization, our frustration has reached a new level so let us once again approach this topic, not to argue, but to educate the pet owners and possibly the local physicians. 

Therapy Dogs are NOT Service Dogs. They are our personal pet dogs who have had obedience training and have been tested and registered with a national therapy dog organization, to allow them to go with their owners to do therapeutic visits at hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other facilities.  Their purpose is to bring joy and comfort to residents or patients of these facilities.  They do NOT have the legal rights of a service dog.  They are not to be in local establishments, stores, etc.  They are NOT covered by the disability laws.

A Service Dog is a specially trained dog that provides physical assistance or does medical alerts for the person who is its’ partner.  Service dogs are legally permitted in public places where our pets are not allowed, because they are needed by their partners in order to function.

Therapy Dogs are only permitted into a facility that has requested them such as hospitals, nursing homes, special organizations, etc., and they must have the proper clearances required by each facility they visit in addition to their therapy dog registration. Our local therapy dogs spend many hours completing their required certification.  It’s not just a case of the owner simply going online to secure a false paper indicating that their pet is a therapy dog.  Our local therapy dogs are covered by liability insurance from our parent organization and this insurance is required by all of the facilities we presently service. Some local pet owners are misrepresenting their therapy dog as a service dog and asking local physicians to write a “prescription” which owners are using to pass their pet dog off as a service dog or sometimes even a therapy dog or service dog in training.



Physicians PLEASE stop writing notes for "Therapy Dogs in Training"!   By doing so you are helping people misrepresent a Therapy Dog, because they are using your note to go into places they legally do not belong.  If a pet owner intentionally passes their therapy dog off as a service dog, the owner is misrepresenting all of the legitimate therapy dogs that work hard to receive their therapy dog registration.  They are also making life more difficult for disabled persons who have actual Service Dogs and who need them for physical assistance or for medical alerts.  When these untrained, unregistered fake service dogs misbehave in public places where they are not permitted, it causes problems for the people whose life may depend on having their Service Dog at their side.

 The really sad part is as testers and evaluators, we can't pretend to not know what we know. So when these teams do meet the requirements to become legitimate therapy dogs as testers, we have to mark on their testing papers that they've misrepresented a therapy dog in the past and we cannot do a required evaluation for a legitimate therapy dog registration.

Having a therapy dog is not a status of importance, it's a self-sacrifice to bring someone else joy.



Robin Peterson, Sue Anderson

 

We have a new groomer at the Dog House! She will be grooming every Saturday starting January 13th! 

Dog License – It’s the Law

In Pennsylvania, all dogs three months of age or older, must have a current year dog license.  The license should be in place by January 1st., but there is still time to purchase a license for 2015.    There can be a fine up to a maximum of $300 for not having a license on the dog.

There are several reasons why getting a dog license is important.

1.      It’s the law.

2.      If your dog is missing, having him licensed greatly improved your chances of getting the dog back.

Even if your dog is always on your property, accidents happen and dogs do get out of fenced areas, etc.

3.      The cost of the license if less than the penalty for being caught without one

4.      Licenses support the efforts of local animal shelters

You can purchase a dog license at your county courthouse and generally at various locations through-out the county. For first time purchase, you will have to show proof your dog has been vaccinated against rabies.  All dogs and cats over 3 months of age must be vaccinated against rabies. 

The cost for a license is $8.50 for a male dog, $6.50 for a neutered male, $8.50 for a female and $6.50 for a spay female.  There is a $2.00 fee reduction for a person with a disability or a senior citizen.  If you are applying for a license as a senior citizen of a person with a disability, generally you must do this at the County Treasurer located at the courthouse.  Check your individual county requirements on this.

Many dog owners choose to purchase a lifetime license for their dog.  To purchase a lifetime license, your dog has to have permanent identification verification from a veterinarian indicating the dog has been tattooed or micro-chipped.  The tattoo is generally done on the inside of the dog’s upper leg and a microchip is a computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, inserted by the vet between the shoulder blades of the dog.  If the dog is found, many police departments, shelters, and of course veterinarians, can scan the pet to get the reading on the microchip. 

Lifetime license fees are $51.50 for a male dog, $31.50 for a neutered male, $51.50 for a female dog, and $31.50 for a spayed female.  There is a $20.00 reduction in price on the costs for senior citizens and persons with a disability.

Protect your dog and get a dog license. It is the law.