Faux Service Dogs in Pacific Palisades Can Be Reported

Pacific Palisades residents have seen dogs in CVS, Ralphs and Gelson’s. Most of these dogs have on a halter (which can be bought online) with the label “Service Dog.” But many residents still find it worrisome when they see a dog in an establishment where food is sold.

A resident tipped off the News that not only is it worrisome, it is also illegal to allow dogs into businesses that sell food for human consumption. Only legitimate service dogs may accompany residents. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114259.5 prohibits live animals in a food facility, which includes restaurants, grocery stores, and other places that sell food—except for “service animals.”

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Is a dog that provides emotional support a service animal? No, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which defines a service animal as “[A] dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.

“The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability, such as: 1.) assisting sight-impaired persons; 2.) alerting hearing-impaired persons to the presence of people or sounds; 3.) providing nonviolent protection or rescue work; 4.) pulling a wheelchair; 5.) assisting an individual during a seizure; 6.) alerting an individual to the presence of allergens; 7.) retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone; 8.) providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility impairments; and 9.) helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.”

To determine if it is a service dog,the U.S. Department of Justice permits businesses to ask two questions: Is this service dog required because of disability and what is it trained to do to mitigate the disability? Neither a certification nor vest is needed for a legitimate service dog,

The owners of pets who flout the law and the store that allows it can be reported to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. To file a complaint, call (888) 700-9995, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A complaint can be filed anonymously and you will be given a complaint identification number and the county will send out an inspector. You can then call (818) 672-2258 five days later to hear the results.

A complaint may also be filed online at ehservices.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

The resident who alerted the News felt compelled to act after encountering two dogs in CVS. She wrote,“It may be worth publishing this information so that others in Pacific Palisades who are offended by people taking their pets into stores can also complain.”

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