Let’s get real on fake service dogs
Nicole Sorchinski seems to have a legitimate gripe. She suffers seizures, and she has a 3 year old pit bull named Nala who she says is trained as a service animal. She says Nala is trained to push furniture out of the way if Nicole has a seizure coming on and to bark for help if she goes collapses. A recent emergency room visit to Ocean Medical Center however ended with Sorchinski being told she couldn't keep her dog there and with her being so upset she ended up leaving also against medical advice.
Experts say the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, allows people to bring service animals to hospitals and emergency rooms. Other experts point out there are some exceptions, such as operating rooms and burn units where a sterile environment is crucial. Emergency rooms are not among the exceptions.
Sorchinski says even though no certification is required to be shown for a service dog to be allowed she nonetheless acquired certification from a private company. This may well be legitimate. I hope it is. However I must admit I wondered if the private company were one of these online sites where they send you phony credentials to pass your ordinary pet off as a service animal.
Don't hate me for wondering. I mean nothing disparaging towards Nicole, and this brings me to my point. Legitimately disabled people have been put in an extremely difficult situation because of so many selfish pet owners who want to bring their pets with them everywhere. These jerks are willing to lie. Then confusion reigns.
Sorchinski actually believes in her case it was the breed, pit bull, more than anything else. I don't know her, her situation, or if her dog is truly a service animal although I hope she's being honest. All I know is genuinely disabled people are being turned away because of morons who bring peacocks onto planes and wheel Pomeranians around in grocery stores and pretend they're emotional support animals. There's an anthropomorphism going on with dogs in this country, a Disneyfication if you will, that is doing real harm to good people and making their misfortunes harder to manage. Clearly the selfish who fake dogs and other animals as service or support animals care more about dogs than humans. It needs to stop.
Perhaps it's time to consider the need to have a uniform, recognizable government issued ID for all legitimate service dogs. I know the original thought was to not make the disabled's burden even greater, but years ago no one anticipated the jerks coming out of the woodwork.
Back to the case of Nicole Sorchinski and Nala. The hospital is reviewing its protocols. That's a good thing. But a better thing would be for a top to bottom review of what is and isn't a true service animal, an identification system, and massive fines against the selfish who violate the law.
More from New Jersey 101.5