[Editor's Note: This is a blog written by Christian Holm of Livermore, but is pertinent here. I recently experienced this fraud firsthand at a doctor's office, where an unruly 'service dog' was clearly untrained and caused problems for other patients, especially the elderly.]
Judy's at it again. Two days in a row she walked into the Livermore Public Library with Shane, the overweight black lab. Shane is NOT a service animal, but Judy pawns him off as one regularly. But this time, the Library staff acted on it. I'm pretty proud of them for doing this. They approached her and spoke to her about Shane, at which time Judy became belligerent.
Just so everyone knows, when Judy becomes belligerent it's a thing to experience! I've experienced it. I'm one of those few people who can take it. I know some of the library staff, and I can tell you, they do NOT need Judy's drama!
Did they ask Judy to leave? I don't know. I'm not privy to that information. The likelihood that they asked Judy to take Shane outside is high. Again, I do not know and won't bother the Library staff to ask. But I do know that after 5PM a Livermore Police Officer arrived, went in, and spoke with Judy.
Just to remind everyone, the two applicable laws under the California Civil Code and Penal Code:
California Civil Code Section 54.1
(c) Visually impaired or blind persons and persons licensed to train guide dogs for individuals who are visually impaired or blind pursuant to Chapter 9.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code or guide dogs as defined in the regulations implementing Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336), and persons who are deaf or hearing impaired and persons authorized to train signal dogs for individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired, and other individuals with a disability and persons authorized to train service dogs for individuals with a disability, may take dogs, for the purpose of training them as guide dogs, signal dogs, or service dogs in any of the places specified in subdivisions (a) and (b). These persons shall ensure that the dog is on a leash and tagged as a guide dog, signal dog, or service dog by identification tag issued by the county clerk, animal control department, or other agency, as authorized by Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 30850) of Division 14 of the Food and Agricultural Code. In addition, the person shall be liable for any provable damage done to the premises or facilities by his or her dog.
CA PENAL CODE SECTION 365.7
[a] Any person who, knowingly and fraudulently represents himself or herself, through verbal or written notice, to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed as, to be qualified as, or identified as, a guide, signal, or service dog, as defined in subdivisions (d), (e), and (f) of Section 365.5 and paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 54.1 of the Civil Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both that fine and imprisonment.
Judy Claudio knows all this. She's read this blog. (She's screamed at me over this blog!) And she is well aware that Shane: 1, is not a service animal and 2, it is a criminal offence to represent him as one. How do I know this? Because I told her personally.
The officer was in there for quite some time. I stood outside and waited, but he came out, got in his squad car and left. Judy is still inside!
The library staff were told by the officer he could do nothing!
Hello: what part of Six Months in Prison OR $1000 fine OR both is unclear? You guys did NOT even tell her to leave???
Now Judy is in there giving the Library staff a piece of her mind!
You know, that's the part that irks me the most. The Librarians are TRYING to do the right thing! They are trying to have a safe, clean, good environment where parents can bring their children and families can come!
The LPD is NOT going to back up the Library Staff when they are so clearly in the right?
Back in the Coast Guard, guys, they called that DERELICTION OF DUTY! You could end up in Leavanworth for it!
WAY TO GO, LIVERMORE POLICE! Your knowledge of the law you're supposed to be enforcing is stellar!
Updated August 21, 2013
What has just come to my attention is the number of news stories reporting an epidemic of people fraudulently representing pets as service animals. It has become so pervasive that there is a campaign for the Federal Department of Justice to take action:
From the Sun Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida:
"It has become an epidemic," said Kris Baker, 63, who lives in Orlando. "And what we're getting is the aftermath. Somebody will take Fluffy with them into a restaurant, and the dog will bark or snap at someone or poop on the floor. So when we come in with a legitimate dog, we get the questions and the resentment. It's harder for us."
From WBBM, CBS Radio Chicago, Illinois:
“My second assistance dog was actually attacked by a dog at a professional conference by someone who was trying to pass off their pet as an assistance dog who had no business being in public,”