The Mighty Logo

Viral Video Shows Police Officer Detaining a Woman's Service Dog on Private Property

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you’re struggling with self-judgment, check out The Mighty’s No Shame group. It’s a safe space to share how you’re feeling with other people who get it.

In a viral video that began circulating in Canada, a police officer is seen holding onto the collar of a woman’s dog while demanding to see the dog’s service animal registration. The owner repeatedly tells the officer, “Let go of my f*cking dog!” and explains she is on her own private property. The officer says he will arrest her for obstruction and threatens to confiscate the dog.

You can see the video below:

As someone who uses a service animal, I saw this police interaction as completely inappropriate. First and foremost, it’s important to mention this incident occurred in Alberta, Canada where service dog registrations are common. If this was in the United States, where the Department of Justice does not recognize animal certification or registration documents as proof that a dog is a service animal, a police officer wouldn’t be able to ask for this kind of documentation in the first place. 

Still, this officer was way out of line.

Before I get called all kinds of names, I would also like to clarify that I have and always will be a devout supporter of our first responders and officers serving and protecting us. However, that does not mean there are lines that can and will be crossed by some, such as this one.

In this video, a girl lets her service dog outside. The officer wanted to know if it had tags and came onto the woman’s property to find that out, grabbed her dog by the collar, pet her dog like you’re absolutely not supposed to do to a service dog without asking its handler first (whether it is on or off duty) and demanded to see its tags that were not on its collar at the time. Once he found out it was a service dog, he demanded to see documentation. Again, outside of the United States, documentation for service animals can be common. However, this officer is on her private property and harassing her. He is clearly crossing boundaries in many ways, including having a hold on her dog’s collar nearly the entire length of the video of seven minutes.

Let’s talk about this situation as if it had happened in the United States for a moment. Behavior like this is 100% illegal in the U.S. whether they were on her private property or out in public, where her service dog has legal rights to be with its disabled handler. Even more so, this situation occurred on her own private property which makes it all the more disturbing — regardless of what country it happened in.

For our United States readers, please remember that we legally do not have to have our service dogs registered. All registries are considered a scam and the American’s With Disabilities Act does not require us to register them in any way. You can literally register a jar of Nutella on any registry’s website. And yes, that has been done to show how much of a joke they are.

I have been kicked out of stores and restaurants and denied access to others, all because people think they can ask for documentation in the United States showing proof that a service dog is a service dog. I would like to make one thing clear — business owners are only allowed to ask two questions:

1. Is this a service dog?
2. What tasks is the dog trained to perform?

They cannot ask any further questions beyond that. Asking for documentation in the United States to show a service dog is a service dog is illegal. It might sound silly to all of you who do not require the use of a service dog, but in all actuality, it is discrimination to do so, and is the reason why the ADA exists in our favor.

My heart hurts for this poor girl and her dog. If you are familiar with canine behavior, you know the dog is clearly distressed in this video. The girl had her rights invaded by the officer coming onto her property, when the dog never left it, which means that Alberta’s public access laws do not apply to this situation.

Please, for the love of God, just treat people with respect. It does not matter if we are disabled or not, we deserve respect. Our medical equipment deserves respect. This is the equivalent of an officer walking up to a woman in a wheelchair in her front yard, grabbing hold of it, and demanding to see its serial number to prove it is a legitimate wheelchair. As she kept saying in the video — you know your rights and I know my rights. So, let’s start following them and stop harassing those of us with legitimate service dogs. Know the law, no matter what country you are in and no matter what position you hold within your job or community.

Follow this journey on Understanding Chaos.

Screenshot via NowThis and Freedom Media Canada

Originally published: April 30, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home