Michael Kelly, a blind man from California, is used to getting around with help from his certified seeing-eye dog, Kie. However, he’s not okay with other people who pretend to have service dogs who aren’t the real thing.
Case in point: an incident at the Sacramento Light Rail regional transit station at 16th and Q Streets just over a week ago, when Kelly’s working dog was attacked by a pit bull whose owner falsely claimed the pet was a therapy dog.
According to KTLA sister station KTXL, Kelly alleges the other dog lunged at Kie and bit him.
“There was a pit bull on his face just latched on,” said Kelly. “My dog started screaming.”
At the time, the other owner claimed his dog was service animal, too. But, when Sacramento police told him they were monitoring surveillance camera footage, KTLA reports that the man admitted his dog was just a pet.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much the police can do about the attack, which Kelly finds “infuriating.”
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal to ask about a person’s disability, require medical documentation, require special identification for a service animal or ask for the service animal to demonstrate the tasks it’s trained to do. And while the ADA was created to protect people with special needs from discrimination, sadly it does not thwart those who are able-bodied and seeking to take advantage of the service animal privilege.
“So many people lie about it that it ruins it for those of us that have a legitimate need,” said Kelly.
Luckily, save for a mark on his muzzle, Kie is alright and went right back to work.