View Full Version : Service Dogs and Cops

04-12-2012, 09:44 AM
My character has a psychiatric service dog for issues stemming from PTSD, namely panic attacks and dissociative episodes.

My character is in a police station being interviewed. The conundrum is this: If he's there as a witness, I'm assuming they'll allow the dog full access. If he's there as a person of interest but not under arrest, how are they going to react to the dog? Let it in the interrogation room with him? If not, where are they going to put it? I'm assuming there would be a lot of room for damage if the police forced them to separate and he took lawyer-related revenge.

04-12-2012, 07:40 PM
Given that service dogs are specially trained and given to people for a medical reason (in this case a psychiatric one), I would think police would allow the dog in during interrogation, even if he's a person of interest. It's a service dog, not a pet. If the police have any concerns about it, they would most likely follow up with the character's psychiatrist. However, they would also understand the reasons a person might have a service dog. And the character would mention that this was a service dog. The character would probably have a special harness for the dog as well which might indicate that it's a service dog.

Also, service dogs are specially trained for situations that most pets are not. So it's trained to sit quietly at its master's side/feet. Plus a dog that's likely to attack I don't see being given/trained as a service dog. It would be too chancy to allow such a dog to a person in need.

04-12-2012, 08:03 PM
I think it would technically be a violation of somebody's civil rights to remove their service dog from them. I've never seen any material pertaining to the interaction of service dogs and police in this sort of instance, though a person educated regarding their rights could ask to speak with a lawyer if threatened with such a thing. Really, regardless of the case and my role, if I had a service dog for PTSD, my main concern would be that I maintained my protected-by-law access to what might be my main coping mechanism and means for independent living.

Here's a general service dog overview on the ADA site, which doesn't address that question, unfortunately, though it's a very interesting one!: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

ETA: though I did just find a link listing states that exclude Psychiatric Service Dogs from the "service dog" umbrella: http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/node/464

04-12-2012, 08:16 PM
I did check on the state laws, and there are a few that exclude PSDs as service dogs, but I'm putting this in Washington, which includes them. I just needed a second opinion on the interrogation room. Thank you!

07-03-2012, 07:58 AM
I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to throw it out there that there is no STANDARD nationwide certification process for service dogs. Makes things difficult because there are a few folks out there who try to pass their PET DOGS off as SERVICE DOGS.

Some people will claim that their dog is "public access certified." This is not a standard certification, although it exists within certain service dog associations. Basically it just ensures that a service dog is trained enough to not be a bother in public areas. Note that "pet dogs" can also be trained to this standard!

There is no universal "badge" that proclaims a dog to be a "legit" service animal.

Certain establishments have been known to bar access to service dogs! For a police department, however, I don't think it would be a problem. Make it a German shepherd. Cops like German shepherds.

/random thread excavation