Fake service dogs: The harm caused by pet owners who break the rules

February 22, 2016
Yancy Baer wakes up each morning and gets help from his dog Verbena or Beanz.
     “I don’t like to keep things around my bed, being an amputee, and so she will bring me my socks. She can bring me shoes, my prosthetic,” said Baer, an Army veteran and service dog owner.
     Baer also works as a firearms instructor at the Center for the Intrepid, a rehabilitation center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Baer says Beanz assists not only him, but the veterans at the rehabilitation center. “Sometimes it’s just the boost that they need to keep going through the day for their rehabilitation.”
     But he also says he occasionally runs into challenges. Many people with disabilities, such as Baer, legitimately need a service animal, but a KXAN Investigation found websites and policies can enable sneaky pet owners, who want to abuse the laws, to get out of paying a pet deposit at an apartment, let their animals fly free or even gain access to restaurants with their pets.