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Avoiding Veterans’ Service Dog Scams

Unfortunately, many fall victim to veterans’ service dog scams. Even well-meaning organizations geared toward providing service dogs for veterans can mislead and possibly harm the veterans they mean to help if the dog hasn’t been properly trained. In fact, in some cases, veterans have received dogs originally rescued from animal shelters that, while they may be wonderful companions, have not learned the special skills to beneficially meet the veterans’ medical needs.

A dog who has not received certifications from the proper channels can cause unwanted problems. They do not have unrestricted access to VA hospitals and other public places that normally don’t permit animals, for example. Even dogs who are recognized as therapy or emotional support dogs aren’t covered by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and can accrue costs veterans may have been led to believe were otherwise compensated.

The American Disabilities Act rules apply to the following:

  • Guide dogs for the hearing- and vision-impaired
  • Dogs trained to alert for seizures
  • Mobility dogs who have received the proper training to pull wheelchairs, retrieve items for their owners and other tasks
  • Psychiatric service dogs who have been specifically trained

Keep in mind that the VA doesn’t necessarily abide by ADA rules, allowing service dogs for the visually impaired but operating on a case-by-case basis otherwise. They will provide financial assistance for some of the expenses for a veterans’ service dog (excluding emotional support/therapy dogs) once a qualified healthcare provider has evaluated the veteran for:

  • Ability and means, including family or caregiver, to care for the dog currently and in the future
  • Goals that are to be accomplished through the use of the dog
  • Goals that are to be accomplished through other assistive technology or therapy

Once approved, veterans are then referred to accredited agencies for a free service dog through Assistance Dogs International. This is the best way to ensure the service dog you receive has the proper certifications and has been adequately trained to meet your needs.

If you believe you may be eligible for a service dog or other benefits due to your service-connected condition, the West Virginia Veterans’ Disability Lawyers of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, will fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact ustoll-free at 877-526-3455 or through our online contact form to schedule a 100% free initial consultation today.

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