Fake service dogs are harmful to our wounded veterans. It takes months or even years to train and prepare a dog for service. Putting a dog in a stressful, public atmosphere can be detrimental to the dog and disruptive to everyone else. If you slip a service dog vest on your pet and take them out to your favorite resaurant, you are representing the service dog community, and when your dog acts up, you're reenforcing negative stereotypes that our disabled veterans then have to shoulder.
The American Service Dog Access Coalition (or ASDAC), ) is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to reducing the burdens faced by disabled individuals when traveling with Service Dogs.
ASDAC prioritizes collaboration with the goal of building the broadest possible coalition of Service/Guide Dog providers and access providers to end the use of fake and poorly trained "service dogs" while simultaneously raising Service Dog training standards. Unlike other attempts at Service Dog registries, the ASDAC is a stand-alone not-for-profit coalition established industry leaders with expertise in canine registry, technology, Service Dog training and advocacy.
Fake and poorly trained Service Dogs are inundating airlines, restaurants, hotels and other access providers. Correspondingly, Service Dog teams are facing increased harassment from access providers and are increasingly confronting fake and poorly trained "service dogs." ASDAC recognizes the legitimacy of a variety of sources of Service Dogs but also the issues and confusion caused by a lack of unified behavioral standards for true Service Dogs as defined by federal law.
ASDAC is building an "Opt-In" Service Dog credentialing system that will streamline the travel process for Service Dog teams while also reducing the challenges faced by access providers when working to accommodate them. The voluntary credentialing system will provide access providers with relevant information to easily identify valid, well-trained Service Dogs while providing teams with increased comfort and confidence to travel. The work of ASDAC will also incentivize participation in the system and create a culture of compliance with the general public. The "Opt-In" credentialing system will contain five general components as outlined below:
- Test Service Dog teams to ensure they meet rigorous standards or provide automatic credentialing to teams from pre-approved providers (i.e., ADI members and other high-quality Service Dog agencies);
- Prove vaccination history and disability of handler;
- Provide easy access to records proving credential status and all relevant information through a website and online registry being managed by ASDAC and the American Kennel Club ("AKC"};
- Re-test Service Dogs every two years to ensure they continue to meet credentialing standards;
- Provide a policing mechanism for teams failing to meet standards.
Once "qualified," the team will be provided with a formal ID card, identification number, and a patch. The serial number and ID can quickly be verified via a mobile and web-based platform application.
What's Next for ASDAC
ASDAC is currently developing the technology infrastructure as well as the testing network to make the "Opt-In" credentialing system a reality. As of today, the key partners creating the ASDAC "Opt-In" system are Dell EMC, AKC (provider of AKC CGC canine behavior standards and registry technology), Petco (the initial national platform provider), K9s For Warriors and the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans.
If your organization is interested in joining us in this work, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.