January 15, 2016 8:45 pm
Updated: January 15, 2016 10:10 pm

Service dog discrimination not uncommon

WATCH ABOVE: Because of people who abuse the system, Lui Greco who uses a guide dog, says he has been denied access to hotels and restaurants. There are ways you can tell if a guide dog is a real or fake, but it’s not easy. Bindu Suri reports.


Being discriminated against for having a service dog seems to be happening more often than it should.

Lui Greco, manager of National Advocacy at CNIB uses a guide dog. He insists the animal is not a pet, even though a lot of people see it as one.

“I’ve been denied access to restaurants.. taxis,” Greco said.

“I’ve been challenged at hotels, saying ‘this is not a pet-friendly hotel. I explain to them this is not a pet.”

Accepting sub-par hotel rooms and walking away from restaurant reservations is part of the struggle.

Greco was pleased to hear action was taken against a taxi driver who denied Dave Balfour a cab ride because of his guide dog.

WATCH: Calgary cabbie fired after refusing blind man with service dog

He admits there are those who abuse the system using fake service dogs to gain access to public places.

A service dog in Calgary.

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Bill Thornton, with BC & AB Guide Dogs, agreed that it is far too easy to get fake IDs and harnesses online.

“They pay anything up to $100 or more, and they receive a photo ID and jackets and equipment.”

If you have any doubts, you can ask to see special ID.  Some are clearly government issued.  Or they will have the name of the organization that certified the dog.

Alberta is leading the pack with strict regulations.

BC is in the process of creating tougher laws. Taking effect Monday, handlers will carry identification to prove their dogs are legitimate.

Under Alberta law, discriminating against someone with a service dog can carry fines upwards of $3,000.

Let’s talk turkey

Recently, staff at Delta Airlines allowed a turkey on a flight because it was classified as a passenger’s therapy pet.

WATCH: Delta Airlines acknowledges turkey brought on flight as therapy pet

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