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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries Online

Fake service dogs cause problems

Carl Bessent walks with his guide dog Nerice through Coeur d'Alene recently. Carl is legally blind and is concerned about the growing problem of impostor or poorly trained service animals and the problems they create for legitimate service animals. (Kathy Plonka / Spokesman-Review)
Carl Bessent walks with his guide dog Nerice through Coeur d'Alene recently. Carl is legally blind and is concerned about the growing problem of impostor or poorly trained service animals and the problems they create for legitimate service animals. (Kathy Plonka / Spokesman-Review)

Just about everywhere Carl Bessent goes, Nerice is at his side. On walks around Coeur d’Alene, inside stores and restaurants, and to the movies, the 7-year-old black Lab guides Bessent, a retired attorney who lost sight in one eye and went legally blind in the other as a newborn. And almost everyone he encounters knows the law permits his trained service animal to accompany him in public. But what irritates Bessent these days is all the people who exploit the law and masquerade their pets as service animals. “My guide dog had almost two years of training, and somebody just slaps a vest on their dog and says, ‘OK, it’s a service dog,’ ” Bessent said. “That’s an insult”/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think the Idaho Legislature should pass a law requiring a special license for service dogs?



D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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