Woman victim of Internet autism service dog scam

Ottawa, ON – A local woman is advising the public to beware of scammers who sell autism service dogs online.

Genevieve Trepanier opted to purchase an ASD service dog for her son Anthony but was loathe to wait the 3 years that it typically takes to obtain one through specialized agencies. Trepanier thus decided to obtain one by answering an online Facebook advertisement in hopes of being given a highly trained canine that would serve to provide support for her son.

The young mother was consequently given Bear, a 5 lb Pomeranian that was intended to ensure Anthony’s safety, specifically when the youngster was out in public areas. She soon realized that the canine was not adequately trained to fulfill its role as a service dog and after conducting research, Trepanier realized that she had been intentionally misled through false advertising.

According to Danielle Forbes, Director of National Service Dogs, such scams are a common occurrence yet are difficult to prevent due to current regulation. However an increasing number of reputable service dog organizations are now beginning to operate under Assistance Dog International (ADI), a non-profit that seeks to ensure that stipulated industry standards are adhered to.

Ultimately, although it is too late for Trepanier, she hopes that by telling her story it will prevent other families from having the same experience.

Source: Dani-elle Dube in the Ottawa Sun: Buyer beware for autism service dogs

Editor’s Note:  This is not the first time we have reported similar stories.  As with anything, buyers must always beware even when looking to buy a service dog.  There are several reputable companies that provide dogs for children on the spectrum including Dogs for Autism and 4 Paws for Ability in the USA and National Service Dogs in Canada.