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Just moments after boarding the light rail in Sacramento, a blind man’s service dog was attacked by another dog already onboard with an owner falsely claiming he was a service dog.
Sacramento man, Michael Kelly, is blind and depends on his service dog, Kai to navigate the world around him.
A week ago, Kelly and Kai boarded the train at Regional Transit Station at 16th and Q streets in midtown Sacramento. Moments after stepping onboard, Kai was attacked by another dog already on the train.
Kelly told FOX40 that the dog lunged toward Kai, latching onto his mouth.
“There was a pit bull on his face just latched on,” Kelly explained. “My dog started screaming.”
The dog’s owner claimed he was a service dog.
When Sacramento Police arrived on scene and reminded the pit bull’s owner that they monitor cameras on the train, he admitted that the dog was a pet, not a service dog.
Although it is illegal to misrepresent a service dog in the state of California (along with 12 other states having clearly defined laws on the books) and those caught can face a fine up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail, the passenger was not cited for misrepresenting his pet as a service dog.
The Regional Transit Authority does allow pets onboard trains, but they must be inside a carrier and that carrier must be placed on the passenger’s lap. The passenger was also not cited for bringing a pet onboard outside of an approved carrier.
The only citation given was for boarding the train without purchasing a ticket.
As for Kai, Kelly said his dog is trained to remain calm in chaotic situations.
“He’s blown off this attack very nicely,” Kelly said. Kai went right back to working, despite a painful bite to his muzzle.
Current service dog laws under the Americans With Disabilities Act, unfortunately, make it very easy for non-disabled persons to fake service dogs. Contrary to popular belief, service dogs are not required to be certified by any central governing agency and are not required to wear a vest or carry a service dog ID card.