Beware of Service Dog Scams Targeting the Vulnerable

I’m sure that when you’ve got a toddler with a continual and significantly difficult medical situation or behavioral dysfunction that can’t be readily addressed or resolved, you might turn 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 toddler 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 conduct. Her 10-year-old nonverbal son has autism, and infrequently has suits of frustration that make him bang his head or turn into damaging. The mom, and her son’s social employee, had heard that service canine may assist some kids with autism, they usually began researching organizations that present and practice service canine. At some level, the mom discovered about a corporation in Virginia, known as Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR), whose representatives promised that they not solely practice the canine, however deliver the canine to your private home and train the canine and consumer to work collectively. That sounded nice to the mother, who stated that journey together with her son is almost unattainable.

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 one in all their canine and associated providers: SDWR offered an internet fundraising web page to which all donations may very well be despatched, and indicated that when the full 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 cellphone 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 acquired cash from plenty of different households, who additionally by no means acquired a canine. The households began a Facebook page with the intention to talk with one another and share details about SDWR which may assist any of them obtain even partial reimbursement by means of the chapter courtroom. And extra households declare that they did obtain canine 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 steadily. There are quite a few unscrupulous people who find themselves promoting unhealthy and/or untrained (or poorly skilled) canine and representing them as service canine.

WDJ Training Editor and long-time coach Pat Miller wrote about this in an article, “Service Dog Scams,” that we printed within the June 2019 concern. The article comprises many recommendations on find out how to establish and keep away from these scams. Make certain that anybody you already know who’s contemplating getting a service canine for a susceptible member of their household has a duplicate of the article!

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

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