Event Title

Assistance Animals: The Legitimate and Fraudulent Working Animals of America

Session Title

Sustainability, Access, and the Environment

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Ginger Williams, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Description

Assistance animal fraud has become a major issue in the United States within the last decade. People passing off their untrained pets as service dogs, who then go on to attack real service dogs, and illegitimate emotional support animals wreaking havoc on airplanes are all too common in modern society. Legitimate assistance animal teams, whether service or emotional support, should not be punished for the crimes of the fraudulent, however. Creating inaccessibility for the disabled is not the solution to the problem at hand. So, how can we best solve the problem of people misrepresenting their pets and abusing the system for assistance animals without harming the disabled people who rely on their legitimate assistance animals? Finding the best way to resolve the issue of people abusing the system for assistance animals is incredibly complex and will require connecting multiple disciplines in order to uncover the solution that will be the most effective and accessible. Political science is important to consider for the policy-making aspect, to consider how laws should be reimagined, erased, or created. Mass communication is crucial to spread information, so that the average citizen can be better informed on what assistance animals are, their differences, and the actual applicable laws (not the fictional ones people like to spread around). Existing state and federal laws need clarification and centralization, and emotional support animals need new regulations and requirements. The general public can be better educated on the topic using television shows and streaming services that are well versed in the different types of assistance animals; hosting fun, educational events at schools; and providing mandatory ADA training for employees.

Course Assignment

IDVS 490 – Williams

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Assistance Animals: The Legitimate and Fraudulent Working Animals of America

Assistance animal fraud has become a major issue in the United States within the last decade. People passing off their untrained pets as service dogs, who then go on to attack real service dogs, and illegitimate emotional support animals wreaking havoc on airplanes are all too common in modern society. Legitimate assistance animal teams, whether service or emotional support, should not be punished for the crimes of the fraudulent, however. Creating inaccessibility for the disabled is not the solution to the problem at hand. So, how can we best solve the problem of people misrepresenting their pets and abusing the system for assistance animals without harming the disabled people who rely on their legitimate assistance animals? Finding the best way to resolve the issue of people abusing the system for assistance animals is incredibly complex and will require connecting multiple disciplines in order to uncover the solution that will be the most effective and accessible. Political science is important to consider for the policy-making aspect, to consider how laws should be reimagined, erased, or created. Mass communication is crucial to spread information, so that the average citizen can be better informed on what assistance animals are, their differences, and the actual applicable laws (not the fictional ones people like to spread around). Existing state and federal laws need clarification and centralization, and emotional support animals need new regulations and requirements. The general public can be better educated on the topic using television shows and streaming services that are well versed in the different types of assistance animals; hosting fun, educational events at schools; and providing mandatory ADA training for employees.