ROANOKE, Va. – It’s not uncommon to see a service dog in a store or restaurant, because working dogs are allowed everywhere their owners go. But putting a dog in a vest doesn’t make it a service dog. These animals go through years of training and cost thousands of dollars.

Laws have been put into place to protect those who need the help from the service animals, but is it enough?

Those who own and train service dogs say no, there’s not enough being done to protect them. Untrained dogs can be disruptive and dangerous, giving those real service dogs a bad name. There area several reports of “fake” service dogs attacked actual service dogs and injuring them, setting their owners back tremendously.

There are, however, some things everyone can do to stop others from “faking” service dogs.

There are two questions we can ask people who have service dogs: “is this a service dog required for a disability,” and “what work or task does this dog perform?” If they answer no to the first or don’t have an answer for the second, you can politely ask them to leave or have the manager ask them to exit the business.

To learn more about what’s allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, click here.

For more information on the laws for service animals in Virginia, click here.

A guide to the Assistance Dogs International standards, here.

And here’s a link to a chart chart many field trainers carry with them to help educate others on the differences between dogs.