ONLY ON KOLD: Four-legged fraud - Tucson News Now

ONLY ON KOLD: Four-legged fraud

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    Three arrested following carjacking on south side

    Three arrested following carjacking on south side

    Friday, June 22 2018 8:30 PM EDT2018-06-23 00:30:31 GMT
    Three people were arrested Friday afternoon following a carjacking on the south side of Tucson, city police said. (Source: Google Maps)Three people were arrested Friday afternoon following a carjacking on the south side of Tucson, city police said. (Source: Google Maps)
    Three people were arrested Friday afternoon following a carjacking on the south side of Tucson, city police said. (Source: Google Maps)Three people were arrested Friday afternoon following a carjacking on the south side of Tucson, city police said. (Source: Google Maps)

    Three people were arrested Friday afternoon following a carjacking on the south side of Tucson, city police said.

    Three people were arrested Friday afternoon following a carjacking on the south side of Tucson, city police said.

  • Construction site fire in Tucson results in $8-10 million in damages

    Owners dealing with melted cars after construction fire

    Friday, June 22 2018 7:15 PM EDT2018-06-22 23:15:42 GMT
    The fire from the construction site was so hot it melted cars in a parking lot next door. (Source: Tucson News Now)The fire from the construction site was so hot it melted cars in a parking lot next door. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    The large fire at the student housing construction site in midtown Tucson this week resulted in $8-10 million in damages, according to officials.

    The large fire at the student housing construction site in midtown Tucson this week resulted in $8-10 million in damages, according to officials.

  • Owners dealing with melted cars after construction fire

    Owners dealing with melted cars after construction fire

    Thursday, June 21 2018 11:51 AM EDT2018-06-21 15:51:48 GMT

    The fire was so hot and bright it lit up the morning sky. That is what one student saw across the street from the construction site fire from yesterday. Danny lives at the University Vista apartments. He’s a grad student at the U of A. He saw the fire and raced to get his car. It was too late, the fire was so hot and dangerous that he was not able to get it. His car was one of a dozen cars that had damage from the fire. He tells us, the back bumper a...

    The fire was so hot and bright it lit up the morning sky. That is what one student saw across the street from the construction site fire from yesterday. Danny lives at the University Vista apartments. He’s a grad student at the U of A. He saw the fire and raced to get his car. It was too late, the fire was so hot

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

We've probably all seen disabled people out and about with their service dogs, or maybe vets who use dogs to help them with their PTSD. But there's a growing problem. People who don't have a disability, and don't have trained service dogs, pretend their pets are actually service dogs. It's a problem for local businesses, and an insult to people who truly need their service companions.

"I can't imagine somebody wanting to do that just to have their pet with them and not leaving it at home when we have these dogs for a reason."

Shelby Smith's talking about people pretending that their pets are service pets. Shelby and her service dog Gabe have been together for five years. They're companions, friends, and Gabe's a necessity - enabling Shelby to do simple things that you and I take for granted.

She says the main thing he does for her is pick up things that she drops because it's very hard for her to get out of her chair to pick things up... "He's my world. He's my rock. He's my everything. I don't know what life would be like without him."

Shelby, who lives in Tucson, was born with multiple limb deficiency, so she needs a wheelchair to get around. A non-profit group called Canine Companions for Independence trained Gabe and put the two of them together. She says "now my life is so much better. It's so much enhanced. He makes me smile when I'm having a bad day."

Service dogs, with their vests that show they're "working", are allowed to go with their owners places where ordinary pets can't. We went to a training session of Guide Dogs for the Blind in Tucson. It takes a year, maybe a year and a half of intense training before dogs learn all the skills needed.

But as more people use service dogs, more people abuse the situation. They put vests on their pets and pretend they're actually working service dogs.

And it's stunning just how easy it is for anyone to get their hands on service dog gear. All you need is a computer. You type in service dog vests in a search, and it takes a matter of seconds. All kinds of vests and badges are at your fingertips.

"We're in the hospitality business. We don't want to turn people around to send them away. We do try to accommodate them."

Brandon Gandara is the manager of pet-friendly El Charro in downtown Tucson. He says they have customers who come in with service dogs who are well behaved. But there's no question he's seen situations where people obviously simply put a vest on their un-trained pet. He says "people who need service dogs need service dogs. But you're walking around with a fake jacket on - that's not right. It's kind of a slap in the face to people who actually need service dogs."

Shelby says she sees fake, obviously untrained, service dogs when she goes out with Gabe. "They're very hyper. Sniffing things and sniffing people as they walk by.  Gabe is not allowed to do that."

It's a federal offense to use a "fake" service dog - but basically the law is not enforceable. Businesses simply are allowed to ask the person with the dog. Not only can fake dogs make things uncomfortable for other customers, they're also opening up the businesses for potential problems. Gandara admits "If we decide to take that pet in and serve the person and something happens - it's on us. It's a big risk that we take."

The discussion about how to fix this problem is just beginning. Until it's fixed, the danger is the people who use fake dogs will make things more difficult for people like Shelby, who says "this dog's my go to person. My everything. I don't know what I'd do without him." She truly needs her service companion.

For more information on the laws the take animals into businesses, click here. To sign the petition to help stop the production of fake service dog products, click here.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  • KOLD InvestigatesMore>>

  • Raycom launches InvestigateTV app on Roku

    Raycom launches InvestigateTV app on Roku

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 4:11 PM EDT2018-06-19 20:11:10 GMT
    Raycom Media, the parent company of KOLD News 13, announced the launch of InvestigateTV, an innovative over-the-top app designed to deliver quality, impactful on-demand journalism content.Raycom Media, the parent company of KOLD News 13, announced the launch of InvestigateTV, an innovative over-the-top app designed to deliver quality, impactful on-demand journalism content.
    Raycom Media, the parent company of KOLD News 13, announced the launch of InvestigateTV, an innovative over-the-top app designed to deliver quality, impactful on-demand journalism content.Raycom Media, the parent company of KOLD News 13, announced the launch of InvestigateTV, an innovative over-the-top app designed to deliver quality, impactful on-demand journalism content.

    Raycom Media, the parent company of KOLD News 13, announced the launch of InvestigateTV, an innovative over-the-top app designed to deliver quality, impactful on-demand journalism content.

    Raycom Media, the parent company of KOLD News 13, announced the launch of InvestigateTV, an innovative over-the-top app designed to deliver quality, impactful on-demand journalism content.

  • Tucson hospital reaches settlement with family of woman who committed suicide

    Tucson hospital reaches settlement with family of woman who committed suicide

    Saturday, June 2 2018 1:07 AM EDT2018-06-02 05:07:12 GMT
    Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital has settled a lawsuit with the family of Tara Moon, who was patient at the hospital when she committed suicide in 2016. (Source: Tucson News Now)Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital has settled a lawsuit with the family of Tara Moon, who was patient at the hospital when she committed suicide in 2016. (Source: Tucson News Now)
    Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital has settled a lawsuit with the family of Tara Moon, who was patient at the hospital when she committed suicide in 2016. (Source: Tucson News Now)Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital has settled a lawsuit with the family of Tara Moon, who was patient at the hospital when she committed suicide in 2016. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital has settled a lawsuit with the family of Tara Moon, who was patient at the hospital when she committed suicide in 2016.

    Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital has settled a lawsuit with the family of Tara Moon, who was patient at the hospital when she committed suicide in 2016.

  • KOLD INVESTIGATES: Are border checkpoints keeping you safe?

    KOLD INVESTIGATES: Are border checkpoints keeping you safe?

    Thursday, May 24 2018 5:45 PM EDT2018-05-24 21:45:24 GMT
    KOLD Investigates looked into who, and the what, gets stopped at immigration checkpoints in Southern Arizona. (Source: Tucson News Now)KOLD Investigates looked into who, and the what, gets stopped at immigration checkpoints in Southern Arizona. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    KOLD Investigates looked into who, and the what, gets stopped at immigration checkpoints in Southern Arizona.

    KOLD Investigates looked into who, and the what, gets stopped at immigration checkpoints in Southern Arizona.

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