Saturday, February 11, 2012
UPDATE 02/11/12: In a related development, Paws4People Foundation issued a news release February 9 calling to attention this fatal dog attack and that "it will happen again" unless the awareness of the "rampant problem of what we term Imposter Service Dogs," states the release, is acknowledged. The group specializes in training service dogs for veterans with PTSD and brain injury and children with physical and psychiatric challenges, according to their website.
[News release] Last week, at Ft. Campbell KY, a 6 year-old was tragically killed by a supposed "Service Dog." Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and all involved in this tragedy. Our goal is to use this tragic accident to create awareness for the rampant problem of what we term Imposter Service Dogs and suggest actions to help avoid repeats of these horrible events.The release points back to a July, 2011 blog post, "Knockoff" Imposter Psychiatric Service Dogs, which harshly criticizes the lack of service dog training standards required by military units. The post states, "Would the Commanding Officer, Wounded Warrior Battalion – East ALLOW any of his Marines to receive a non-FDA Approved, "Knock-off" prosthetic limb?" The post also notes that it takes "months, years" to properly train a psychiatric or seizure response service dog.
paws4people TM warned of this happening over a year ago when we ceased work with clients at Camp LeJeune, NC due to multiple bites and aggressive incidents by Imposter Service Dogs who were -- and still are -- allowed free access to Camp LeJeune and many other bases.
[Blog post] There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of Requests for Proposals which detail thousands, if not millions, of details, specifications, requirements, measurements, materials, manufacturer’s standards, manufacturer’s competence requirements, management, engineering and accounting standards for all contractor personnel, contractor rules and regulations ...Sobering isn't it readers?1
All of this is done to ensure the Kevlar Vests, bullets and the prosthetic limbs work, that the hospital patients don’t get infections, and so the aircraft and their crews take-off, fly their missions, and land safely.
Then why do we ALLOW unqualified organizations to provide un-certified and untrained (in some cases – the dogs are dropped on base within hours of being obtained from a shelter, wearing pinch-collars) to some of our most seriously psychologically and/or emotionally diagnosed Marines, and then ALLOW these recipients to treat these dogs as fully-qualified, certified, public-access Service Dogs? ...
In many states, the laws do not allow certified and insured Service Dog trainers to begin training dogs in public places until the dog is six months old; yet a few weeks ago, there was a three month-old puppy, whose handler claimed it was a already a Service Dog inside the Camp LeJeune MCX.
02/06/11: Both Parties Active Military
No new information is available about this fatal dog mauling, but some clarifications have been made. Both the dog's owner and the father of the boy were servicemen stationed at Fort Campbell. The dog had allegedly been trained to wake up its owner "in the event he was having a nightmare," according to Oak Grove Police. Three dogs were seized from the premises, including the "small" German shepherd -- another child also was at the scene, but was unharmed.
The Department of Child-based Services has also gotten involved.
01/31/11: Trainer: "Anything Can Happen"
New information has been revealed about a 6-year old boy killed by a trained "medical service dog." One can thank the last and current presidential administrations for the failure to require any certified training for service dogs under the revised ADA requirements. This particular dog was allegedly trained to help its veteran owner who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. So the first thing this trained service dog should do in response to a human scream is to kill?
The basics of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
- Re-experiencing symptoms - Vivid flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again; repeated nightmares and memories of the event
- Avoidance symptoms - Being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma; feeling detached; avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event
- Hyper arousal symptoms - Having an exaggerated response to things that startle you; expressing hypervigilance; feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger
"It's not that he wanted to brutally kill this child it's that he was confused on what was going on that screams were coming out and he wanted to fix it" ... "Dogs have teeth, what can you say? Anything can happen at a split moment. It could be anything from the little boy screaming at a split moment"2 ... "My initial thought was maybe he nipped, and the child began screaming and the dog panicked and he wanted to fix the scream so he went for the mouth and the face area which is why he went for the attack" - Leah Patterson, PTSD service dog trainer.So when the dog's owner, who suffers from PTSD, wakes up screaming after reliving the horrific event in a nightmare, it's perfectly normal and acceptable for his trained medical service dog to attack and kill him? The entire "point" of a PTSD service dog is that it ought to be "bomb-proof." Due to the great failure of the ADA in recognizing the volume of huckster dog trainers, we can expect to see more "Pattersons," violent attacks and deaths by so-called trained service dogs.
Charges against the dog's owner may be pending.3
01/31/12: PTSD Service Dog Kills Child
Oak Grove, KY - In a developing story, a dog trained to help a soldier with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder killed a 6-year old boy. The young boy and his family were visiting the Fort Campbell soldier's home Sunday afternoon when the mauling occurred. Police say the dog attacked the boy in the yard of the home. The child was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Medical Center where he died from his injuries early Monday morning. The dog is described as a "small" German shepherd.
2Patterson added, "Hearing that the boy had a puncture on his hand and then was bit several times in the face fits the pattern of how these dogs can react to a playful child." DogsBite.org thinks Patterson should be fired quickly for her ethereal attempt to "explain away" the death of a child who should have been protected by a bomb proof dog.
3This dog was euthanized fast. No extensive evaluation or "psychoanalysis" of its behavior was needed?
09/27/10: 'Fully Vetted' Pit Nutters and Their Service Dogs
08/17/10: Department of Justice Axes Monkeys, Other Creatures From Service Animals
| 2/01/2012 12:30 PM |
This is insane. This may be the first fatality ever by a so called service dog. Recently another GSD supposed service dog bit a neighbor child. Neither of these dogs were appropriate or appropriately trained.
The IAADP specifically states that an appropriate dog will be able to handle strangers approaching, toddlers grabbing, and people touching the dog in loud, stimulating, confusing environments. And they state that no amount of training will make an unsuitable dog into service dog.
The idiot Patterson who was quoted in the story studied as a vet assistant and works at Total Canine Care pet store.
Here's a video of her FIRST PTSD service dog candidate. It had several failed adoptions because it was too HYPER.
Link has been with us for a while after failed adoptions we decided to make him a service dog. He needs a job, everyone thought he was so hyper.
This is insanity. Not only do we have to shut up and take our maulings from pit bulls, now we have to let ourselves be mauled in stores and airports by dangerous dogs trained as service dogs by people who think its normal that they attack us every so often.
Here's another example of the insanity.
Even the DOJ excludes dogs trained for aggressive protection, yet this woman's "service dog" was originally trained to be a police dog complete with bitework training (note german commands), and probably from a line of dogs bred for bitework. That dog, no matter how well trained, is by the ADA's own rules, not a service dog.
The DOJ and ADA MUST regulate service dog training, trainers, handlers, and possibly selection of the dogs.
| 2/03/2012 3:25 AM |
There is no oversight in the Dog World...breeders, behaviorists, rescues, CDC, designating service dogs...etc
Who can forget when Robert Wellers's "PTSD Service" Pit received a humanitarian exemption from Denver, then went on to maul him?
The DBRF rate in the US has quadrupled since 1975...Yet our CDC personnel are not splainin' themselves infront of congress
| 2/03/2012 10:30 PM |
Horrible. This should change the selection process with regards to how service dog candidates are chosen. Knowing some of the behavioural signs of PTSD, the only dogs chosen should have an almost supernatural ability to stay calm when the unexpected happens. That means no dogs bred for guard work or fighting.
Given that some former soliders with PTSD can have very violent outbursts, I wonder here if people are relying too much on dogs to do the job of trained medical professionals. There's very little a dog can do if someone has become violent and the sad fact is that some veterans with PTSD sometimes become extremely aggressive during flashbacks. I've seen grown men with very serious mental illnesses have psychotic episodes and it's a difficult thing to deal with for a person, let alone a dog. The best-trained dogs may just hide under a couch.
If dogs are to be used as therapy animals for people with mental disturbances (and certainly they can be helpful under some circumstances), the training and pairing program should be conducted by professional animal behaviorists working with mental health professionals. PTSD is a very serious problem and a lot of these people promoting pit bulls and other reactive breeds as PTSD service dogs do not know what they are doing. People who run pet stores are not qualified for this sort of thing. These kind of unprofessional programs are hurting and killing people (like this child) and are going to ruin the reputation of proper service dog training organizations.
It is also bull that dogs will usually attack screaming children to make them stop. My Maltese has seen crying babies and toddlers and he doesn't try to kill them. He doesn't do anything.
The trainer's response was absolutely revolting. "Dogs have teeth...what can you say?" What a flippant attitude towards the death of a child. A normal person would have been incredibly upset.
| 2/04/2012 10:23 AM |
This recent fatal attack in Kentucky is the SECOND bite attack by a "trained PTSD Service Dog" within a month! I wonder if all these dogs are being trained at the same facility, or if not, by facilities operated by the same people? Here's the link to the story of "Arco", a "PTSD Service Dog" who was also adopted and iting "retrained" after biting people & killing pets.
This one flunked out of active duty because he was aggressive and basically uncontrollable, yet he was deemed fit to be retrained as a PTSD dog!
While I think that using dogs as support for soldiers with PTSD is a wonderful idea, and many German Shepherd Dogs are wonderful service dogs, for any service activity, those dogs who are used in this way would need to have rock-solid temperaments. Dogs with a history of unprovoked biting should never be used in this way.
For some reason, the Kentucky incident is being hushed up. Probably because it involved active service personnel at Fort Campbell.
I feel so bad for the child, and for everyone involved. Whoever "trained" this dog and then placed it with the PTSD soldier should be charged with reckless homicide or at least with manslaughter. That man trusted that he was being provided with a safe companion animal which would in turn help him recover. How much worse off will that poor man be, now? With a child's death in the jaws of his pet forever burned onto his conscience?
| 2/07/2012 5:06 PM |
Recall James Lech the "dog whisperer" of South Africa whose "rehabbed" service rottweiler attacked a young girl on camera last year? The same rottweiler (service dog) has attacked a child again.
'D' has been registered as a Service Dog and had accompanied me on many excursions. I do not have an explanation for what happened. Following the stress of the prior incident (July 2011), which has affected me greatly, I have spent hours on the beach or in the reserves with my dog(s), in order to mend our wounds and work on 'D's' temperament.
'D' attacked 2-year old Meeka on the beach, bitting her 11 times. These are the results of a so-called dog trainer "expert".
Here's another so-called trained PTSD service dog. So well trained, "The dog got a little skittish trying to go into the home" and bolted from the scene. -Jim Stanek, founder of Paws and Stripes. Just what a veteran suffering from PTSD needs, a "skittish" dog, named "Rush".
Classic case of a so-called trained service pit bull (for autism). The dog hopped the fence and was struck by a car. Then the owner lied about it (claimed the dog was beaten). Kelly Nolan, the pit bull's owner, was then arrested on unrelated charges.
One can't leave out Steven Woods, yet another classic con artist. The guy faked his military history and claimed his biting pit bull, Mimi, was a service dog. Both of his pit bulls were later destroyed after "another" attack.
Steven Woods claimed to be a disabled veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His story pulled on heart strings, with the community raising thousands of dollars for what he said was an assistance dog. But Army officials now tell News 8 that Woods was never in Iraq.
Thanks to the lousy ADA revisions, this is just the tip of the iceberg. And now, one isn't just talking about attacks and bites, this "small" German shepherd killed a 6-year old boy.
| 2/08/2012 1:08 AM |
Meet Robert Weller's PTSD Service Pit named Chummy...Weller used "Chummy's" PTSD service dog status to win a humane exemption to the City's ban on the dangerous animal despite it biting Weller several times.. The tax payer was bitten in the ass and ended up paying for the 911 response when Chummy latched on.
"I live in Denver and the city has a general ban on pit bulls. But I got Chummy back because my doctors said she was my service dog.
She had bitten me several times -- it started when I had to separate her from my aging Dalmation. Both bit me. I was getting professional counseling for me and training for Chummy and a trainer like Cesar Millan was due to start coming to my residence. The experts, including my veterinarian, wanted me to find Chummy another home."
| 2/08/2012 7:52 AM |
Shepherds can make nice service dogs, if trained and socialized properly. There's a man with a shepherd seeing-eye dog in my neighbourhood and the dog's manners are perfect. It's because see-eye dog organizations start exposing the dogs to all sorts of different people and situations starting when the dog is a puppy. They don't use shelter dogs with unstable temperaments.
I can't believe that rottweiler's service dog certificate wasn't pulled after it mauled a child in a food court. The fact that it happened a second time wasn't just an 'accident' as the trainer says: it was due to utter stupidity and negligence.
I think a lot of shady trainers enjoy being able to brag about their 'lion-taming' abilities when they supposedly train unstable dogs of aggressive breeds to be therapy dogs. It's ridiculous and is hurting people. Training therapy dogs isn't supposed to be about promoting pit bulls or the trainer's ego. It's supposed to be about helping people with disabilities.
| 2/10/2012 10:24 AM |
There are good reasons a lot of professional organizations who train service dogs breed their own dogs. If not, they know where to get appropriate puppies.
PBS had a wonderful documentary a couple of years ago about the training of services dogs and how they are carefully matched with disabled people. Doing it properly is an intricate process; and like was stated above, they started working with the puppies as soon as they were weaned.
| 2/11/2012 4:46 PM |
Another so-called trained service dog for a disabled veteran inexplicably "ran off". The dog was allegedly trained to provide "hearing assistance" to the veteran. So well trained was Nala that calling her name over and over didn't even make her come back!
Tim Conzachi was walking his hearing assistance dog, Nala when she ran off in the Golden Valley area by Alice Smith Elementary yesterday around 3:00 p.m.
SERVICE DOG FRAUD!
| 2/11/2012 4:53 PM |
Wow - check this out:
paws4people TM warned of this happening over a year ago when we ceased work with clients at Camp LeJeune, NC due to multiple bites and aggressive incidents by Imposter Service Dogs who were – and still are – allowed free access to Camp LeJeune and many other bases. Read the complete article here.
| 2/14/2012 11:27 PM |
that is incredible and might be the first acknowledgement from professionals in the field. They seem to have gotten no exposure. Hopefully the dogsbite mention with get more eyes on it.
| 2/15/2012 7:30 AM |
It's clear that this pit-type dog -- we MUST assume this until photos are released showing that this 'small' GSD wasn't 'small' because it was half pit -- WASN'T a service dog helping this pathetic man with PTSD. Rather, the pit was a service dog helping this man with 'I Fear My Penis Is Too Tiny and Everyone Will Know It' syndrome (aka Fragile Masculinity).
I'm glad the real service-dog world is now rebelling against having these Tiny Penis Compensation dogs branded as service dogs.
| 2/28/2012 4:26 PM |
The problem is that the "real" service dog world has ethical problems as well.
At the heart is that this is a service dog BUSINESS. These dogs are bred and sold for great sums of money and at large profit to the breeders, many of whom doubly profit by "training" that is not regulated in any way.
Many of these dogs have genetic predispositions to disease and behavior problems, as do all purebred lines. To get the looks, you need to inbreed, and that results in problems.
Much of the breeding for "service dogs" is just another rationalization for the purebred dog industry, and much of it is false.
There is no rationalization for "psychiatric" service dogs, for example. It's a scam that even many psychologists have labelled a scam.
Technology does a much better job of reporting seizures, for example, and any dog who attempts to "get up" an ill person who has fallen can cause permanent injury to that person.
The service dog business has just become too much of a profit center for breeders attempting to manipulate the emotions of a public that is unaware that many claims are false.
Until there is honesty within the service dog business, and it ceases to be a business and a moneymaker, the whole industry is on shaky ground.
The pit bull crowd simply latched on to an unethical business that was there before.
| 2/28/2012 4:29 PM |
"professional animal behaviorists "
There is no such thing.
Even the ones that call themselves "professional animal behaviorists" (yes DVMs included, often the worst of the lot)bicker and fight with each other, and disagree on even the most basic tenets.
This is no science. It's a hobby that some have profited from under false pretenses.
| 2/28/2012 4:35 PM |
"Given that some former soliders with PTSD can have very violent outbursts, I wonder here if people are relying too much on dogs to do the job of trained medical professionals"
Many psychologists have flat out said that the psychiatric service dog scam is just that, a scam. But their voices are drowned out by those who profit from the scam.
Wherever there are tax dollars available, it seems that scams sprout up to take advantage of the money. This is big business for breeders and pseudo trainers.
| 3/08/2012 9:46 PM |
Looks like the U.S. Army just laid down some laws for PTSD service dogs living in privatized housing.
The "fast track" service dog routine is being disrupted!
| 9/16/2012 5:26 PM |
Wow, on Sept 5, 2012 the feds cut payment of service dogs for PTSD veterans:
The Exclusion of Benefits for Mental Health Service Dogs Is Not Unlawful
We agree that the benefits administered under this rule are subject to Section 504, but disagree that not providing benefits for mental health service dogs violates Section 504. VA is not restricting service dog benefits based on disability. VA is providing benefits to both physically and mentally disabled veterans for the same purpose, which is to provide assistance for the use of a particular device (a service dog) when a service dog is clinically determined to be the optimal device to help a veteran manage a visual impairment, a hearing impairment, or a chronic impairment that substantially limits mobility. All veterans will receive equal consideration for benefits administered for these service dogs, provided all other criteria in § 17.148 are met, regardless of accompanying mental health diagnosis. Veterans diagnosed with a hearing or visual impairment will certainly not be deemed ineligible for service dog benefits because they also have a mental health impairment. We also note that mobility impairments under § 17.148 are not specifically limited to traumatic brain injuries or seizure disorders in § 17.148(b)(3). Some commenters misinterpreted the rule to contain such a limitation and argued that other mental impairment may produce mobility impairment. To clarify, if a veteran's mental impairment manifests in symptoms that meet the definition of “chronic impairment that substantially limits mobility” in § 17.148(b)(3) and a service dog is clinically determined to be the optimal device to manage that mobility impairment, then such a veteran will be awarded service dog benefits...
| 5/01/2013 12:50 PM |
I agree, there are too many fake service dogs making it tough on people trying to use highly trained dogs. I had a Diabetic Alert dog, she spontaneously alerted and I took her through 3 trainers for obedience over a year to get her public certified. At 15 months, she went into service and was fine. Now I'm training another dog for the same thing and expect the training to take 12-18 months. When I see a tiny dog in a grocery basket and they tell me its a service dog at 4 months I just cringe and walk away...I hate to say it but there needs to be some national cert even though it would make it harder on self trainers such as myself. It was either buy a dog and train it myself or spend 10-15K at a "non-profit" dog trainer who bucket trained the dog. Yes, I'm using a full stock dog and it will be 50-70 pounds, capable of helping me up etc but not an aggressive breed, try a poodle!