Beware of Service Dog Scams Targeting the Vulnerable

I’m sure that if in case you have a baby with a continual and notably difficult medical situation or behavioral dysfunction that can’t be readily addressed or resolved, you possibly can change into determined for assist – determined to obtain any help that you just heard good issues about. I utterly sympathize with mother and father who’re elevating a baby like this; my coronary heart goes out to them. Unfortunately, some individuals see them as potential targets for service canine scams.

$20,000 misplaced to scammers

Several individuals despatched me an article a couple of single mom in Wisconsin who was duped into elevating greater than $20,000 for a canine she thought would assist ameliorate her son’s aberrant habits. Her 10-year-old nonverbal son has autism, and sometimes has matches of frustration that make him bang his head or change into damaging. The mom, and her son’s social employee, had heard that service canines might assist some kids with autism, they usually began researching organizations that present and practice service canines. At some level, the mom discovered about a company in Virginia, referred to as Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR), whose representatives promised that they not solely practice the canines, however carry the canine to your house and train the canine and consumer to work collectively. That sounded nice to the mother, who mentioned that journey along with her son is almost unimaginable.

The group additionally made it straightforward for family and friends members to assist a household in want of a canine meet the excessive price of certainly one of their canines and associated providers: SDWR supplied a web-based fundraising web page to which all donations could possibly be despatched, and indicated that when the whole quantity due was reached, a canine can be forthcoming. But after many months of fundraising and plenty of neighborhood help, when the goal quantity – some $20,000 – was reached, SDWR despatched solely an e mail, which acknowledged that the household was now on the “wait list” to obtain a canine. And not lengthy after, emails despatched to SDWR began bouncing again and its telephone quantity was disconnected. Then the household discovered the group had declared chapter. The $20,000 was gone.

This household wasn’t the one one to be scammed by SDWR. It developed that the group had obtained cash from quite a few different households, who additionally by no means obtained a canine. The households began a Facebook page so as to talk with one another and share details about SDWR that may assist any of them obtain even partial reimbursement by way of the chapter courtroom. And extra households declare that they did obtain canines from the group who weren’t solely untrained, however unhealthy.

Identify and keep away from service canine scams

But right here’s the factor: The individuals behind this group aren’t the one ones on the market scamming households who’re determined for a service canine. This occurs often. There are quite a few unscrupulous people who find themselves promoting unhealthy and/or untrained (or poorly educated) canines and representing them as service canines.

WDJ Training Editor and long-time coach Pat Miller wrote about this in an article, “Service Dog Scams,” that we revealed within the June 2019 concern. The article incorporates many recommendations on how you can establish and keep away from these scams. Make positive that anybody who’s contemplating getting a service canine for a weak member of their household has a replica of the article!

Note: Pat’s article was revealed within the journal final 12 months, however as a result of a glitch once we moved 22 years’ value of points to a brand new net service supplier final 12 months, it by no means appeared within the on-line model of the journal, and thus, by no means bought as a lot publicity because it deserved. Forward it to anybody who is considering a service canine for somebody of their household!

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