An Arizona man is causing a sting for his service animal.
David Keller thinks people are taking advantage of the relative ease it is to declare a pet as a service animal, so he registered a swarm of bees to prove his point, according to the New York Post.
Keller doesn’t really own any bees, but to show how lax the standards are he uploaded a photo of a random beehive to the website USAServiceDogRegistration.com and his submission was quickly approved.
“A lot of people thought it was hilarious and a lot of people were getting upset,” Keller told WTRF.
He was inspired to do the stunt after seeing a person with a registered dog that was acting peculiar.
“I could very easily tell that it was not a service animal because it was pulling the owner to the parking lot,” he said. “I was thinking that it’s just too easy to get these animals to be service animals.”
And he’s actually right, as many of these so-called registry sites are virtually meaningless.
“You can go pay for a registry on one of those websites and basically you’re just paying for a piece of paper and to put a name on a list,” service dog trainer Jaymie Cardin told the news outlet.
Part of the problem is that many people use the term service animal and emotional support animal interchangeably, but they are actually quite different.
While any animal can be an emotional support animal, under federal law, only dogs and miniature horses can be service animals.
Service animals need to be trained to perform a task that is essential for someone with a disability. Emotional support animals need no training at all and provide relief from anxiety, depression or other mental health issues to its owner simply by their presence. All that is needed to label a pet as an emotional support animal is a letter from a mental health professional.
Finally, while a service animal is allowed to go anywhere its owner goes, an emotional support animal is only legally required to be admitted onto airplanes and in one’s home.
This discrepancy is exactly what Keller was trying to point out.
“It’s making people believe all animals are service animals when they’re not. And there’s a clear difference,” he added.
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