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Calling All Casper Supporters! (Ghost Stalkers?)

Along with this blog most of you know we also maintain a Facebook page and an Instagram. We use these platforms to also educate about disabilities and service dogs. We also like to post heartwarming stories about animals and kids, etc… We want to educate and entertain. I hope we are doing a good job. Part of maintaining all of this means that we encounter situations online that inspire us to do further personal education. One of these incidents happened today and I really need to share the story.

So, you all know how we feel about fake service dog, right? If not then you need to read the rest of this blog. Really… all of it. I mean, we really hate fake service dogs. Today I found a photo on Instagram that I felt I needed to comment on. It was a photo of a dog in a Target shopping cart. I did not suspect there was any fraud going on, just some ignorance about how troublesome it can be to take your pet in public.

Here is the part where I would love to share my comment and the photo of this particular dog, but I can’t. I can’t because they took so much offense to my mild concern that they blocked me from their feed. I am sure you can find it on Instagram under @thefrenchduke. Just look for the cute French bulldog in a Target cart. I will just have to share with you what I remember and not verbatim.

I commented that while I love looking at pics of Duke, he really is an adorable dog, I felt the need to point out that people should not bring their dogs into shops (except pet stores) because it can be a distraction and a danger to service dogs and their handlers. I ended saying I was sorry, but felt I needed to give a PSA on that.

I felt this need because many pet owners had already commented that they wanted to take their dog into Target now. The owner of Duke, who has her own Instagram feed under @amybriggs, commented that “no one said anything” when she brought him in. With these comments I felt it was truly a pet and I thought people should be educated. Not just the owners of Duke, but all of the followers. You see, @thefrenchduke as over 2300 followers after being featured on Huffington Post. That is where I heard of them.

Immediately @amybriggs responded that it was none of my business, but that Duke was a “registered” (we all know that they are not registered at all, but are called certified) service dog and that she would not allow my negativity on her page, etc…

I tried to respond with an apology and to explain that I did not mean harm. I was not being negative. I also mentioned that there was no evidence in any photos or the profile that Duke was a service dog so my assumption was well founded. Also, I stated that as a service dog handler I was sure she understood my concerns.

You see, at this point I was still giving her the benefit of the doubt. Then my comment would not go through. I had been blocked. I could see her comment, but could not respond. I started to question her authenticity. Why would she be so mad and block me if she was truly a service dog handler?

I tried to go back to see more comments but now I could not even see the account. That is until 2 more people responded directly to me. One was just a jerk with a rude comment. The other was @thefrenchduke. They had decided to DELETE the original response from her personal account and the restate, more politely, that Duke was a “registered” service dog.  Still, though, I could not respond.

I am not totally convinced they are lying and it is driving me mad that I cannot let them know that what they are doing is not only rude, unsafe, and ignorant, but more importantly, illegal. I am also pretty irritated that they have so so so many followers when they are violating federal laws with their dog.

If I am wrong, then I invite @thefrenchduke to prove Duke is a service dog. No, there is not paperwork to prove this, as our readers know, but a handler would know the actual laws. They would also be able to tell me what kind of service Duke provides and who trained him. And if he is a service dog, I encourage them to be proud of that. Use your popularity to increase service dog awareness! Do not hide your disability. Educate.

Readers, if you have Instagram, please help me educate this account and their followers. We have to put a stop to these fake service dogs all over the country.

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14 thoughts on “Calling All Casper Supporters! (Ghost Stalkers?)

  1. […] Calling All Casper Supporters! (Ghost Stalkers?) […]

  2. Su jower November 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm Reply

    Just N FYI – the French Duke is no longer private . I checked her page and she took down every comment related to the service dog issue… Looks like she got too much pressure about being a “service dog”

  3. Nancy Nyberg-Pennel November 23, 2013 at 11:44 pm Reply

    Your frustration is understandable. The reason they blocked you is because they didn’t want anyone or have contact with another person that knows they are talking about. I personally don’ think dogs should be riding in shopping carts etc. A dog in a store should only be a service dog. People are jus plain old stupid or ignorant. Thanks for sharing

  4. Kristina November 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm Reply

    @thefrenchduke has within the last couple of hours made their Instagram account private so you have to be approved by them to follow them. Guess they realized that is was stupid to show their stupidity and ignorance in public 🙂

    Good luck with everything, I love the blog keep up the good work.

  5. Hilda November 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm Reply

    I don’t Instagram, either. Just a thought: dogs are supposed to get a new license every year. Wouldn’t it make sense that service dogs could somehow be authenticated on this license? It could be a separate color for a service dog; that’s pretty simple and should do the trick. Of course, the pet’s owner has to provide proof that their dog is a service dog. There must be some type of proof (ie: SDP could have some type of document signed by Carlene) and all trainers of dogs should be able to provide the same. What do you think? With the holidays coming, all shopping malls, stores will be crowded way more than usual; non service dog owners should realize what a detriment this would be to all people, service dogs who are shopping at this time and any time of the year.

    • casperthedane November 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm Reply

      On the one hand I agree. The other aide is that the burden of proof should not fall on the service dog handler. There is already so much discrimination against handicapped and life is never easy so this adds another burden. Personally we wouldn’t mind, but I know there are many others who do. The law states that not papers are required. I know a change needs to be made but requiring special paperwork means more money, time and manpower which h ends up being all on the people who have done it right all along.
      You can see why this is a touchy subject. For now we just have to educate people. I think I will do a post about the certification issue one day.

      • Hilda November 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        You should do a post; perhaps there will be some useful means of getting this across. Educating people is wonderful, but that in itself must be a chore for you as well. Maybe you should put your response on tape; that way, you just press a button and tell them to listen….I know that won’t work either, there has to be a be a better way. Good luck!

  6. Diane Stern November 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm Reply

    Glad to hear from you Casper. It is very frustrating with fake service dogs. An episode of House Hunters New York (think that’s the name) had a women looking for a bigger apt for herself & her Dane, which she stated was a SD. She just used a loose leash but had a vest, could not see any writing on it. Made me really think, SD or just well behaved pet. A lot of NY apt bldgs do not allow pets of any kind. Really wonder if it applies to SD also.

  7. bobbity212 November 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm Reply

    Unfortunately, there is now a growing tendency in this country to try to classify all sorts of animals–not just trained and certified service dogs–as service animals, and thereby not restrict access, movement, or activities of any animal that a person happens to claim is “in service.” These are often animals that the general public considers dangerous or unstable in public (e.g., snakes, birds, ferrets, etc.) or that are not generally “socialized” to human contact. Many doctors are now writing letters certifying that such-and-such an animal is NECESSARY to an individual’s functioning in public, without any specific regard to the animal’s behavior or training. And no one seems to be picking up the slack between the doctor and the public at large.

    In my view, this is an extremely negative development for those individuals who absolutely require a trained service animal in order to go about their daily routines. In general, I am against any more government regulation–of anything. But in this case, I wish the organizations that provide service dogs to people whose conditions require them would band together and form a lobby to REQUIRE proof of any animal’s training and integration into human society at large, as well as proof of necessity to the human in question. Because of the lack of certification requirements, people buy harnesses with “service dog/animal” printed on them merely in order to take their pets wherever they please. Thereby doing a tremendous disservice to those who really depend on their animals to navigate their everyday lives.

    Casper, delving into this more deeply and trying to figure out where the lines (if any) are drawn–on both the federal and state levels–is certainly a worthy research project for you. But I know you’re busy with your dad and family and probably don’t have the time. I’d be willing to help you do some research into this if you’re interested in pursuing it–you’ve got my e-mail!

    Been missing you, Casper, glad you checked in. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • casperthedane November 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm Reply

      We will try to write more often. Mom started a new job and the human pups are back in school and birthdays…. Lots going on. We will make a bigger effort.
      And we hope to eventually be more active in a move toward more regulation. However, it is a double edged sword so we haven’t decided how we feel it would be best pursued yet. Trust me, mom and dad are interested in delving deeper eventually.

      • bobbity212 November 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

        No need to explain. Always just happy to hear from you!

        I’ve already started paying attention to this matter because it interests me–it’s a potentially huge public-policy issue and one which has not yet gotten enough attention. But it’s coming. The more we hear of encounters such as you had today, the more this issue will work its way forward to (hopefully) some sort of rational, easily enforced, and cost-effective regulation (wait–is there an oxymoron in there?).

        Happy Holidays!

  8. kbtz-AZ November 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm Reply

    I don’t do instagram, facebook, etc. but I sure understand your frustration. More and more people are seen out w/their dogs, of all sizes, and when engaged in conversation they insist theirs is a service dog. After a couple questions their ignorance of what constitutes a service dog is obvious. I usually state my thoughts on how they are harming people who honestly need assistance dogs, and walk away shaking my head.

  9. Margie coldrick November 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply

    I am sorry that I do not have Instagram. Don’t really even know what it is.

    • casperthedane November 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm Reply

      That’s ok. You don’t need to worry about it. I just wanted as many users as I could to get on there. No harm if you don’t have one. 🙂

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