Fake ESA Service Dog Vest Online Scam

Fake Online Vests Kits And Certificates Are Scams {MUST READ}

In Emotional Support Animal, Laws by Emotional Pet Support Team13 Comments

Fake Online Vests Kits And Certificates Are Scams

Recently, many people have had justified concerns over the rise of fake online certificates, vests, and tags for their emotional support animal, service animal or therapy animal. Law officials have recently begun to crack down on these online companies that try to pretend to have a real database and sell people overpriced products such as vests, certificates, leashes, collars, etc. Keep in mind that these are the kinds of products that anyone can instead go to Amazon and buy at a much cheaper cost.

One service dog handler have their say, “To see someone who threw a cheap vest on their dog’s back because they like to have it around is like kicking me in my dislocated knee,” courtesy of Huffington Post.

fake service dog vest

What Does The Law Say?

In the past, no one would question the authenticity and legitimacy of a service animal owner. Unfortunately, some savvy fake online companies recently decided to leverage this trust by claiming to be real, selling kits and certificates.

Well, the law has been lenient up until recently due to many reports of pet owners being caught trying to pass their pet as an authentic service animal by justifying that online companies sold them the equipment and that their pet is on the website’s “national service animal database”. These fake service online kit, vests, and certificate sellers undermine the legitimacy of the concept of having real equipment for real service animals specifically. CBS news reported that the perpetrator can get charged up to $1000 and possibly be imprisoned for six months by buying from these online kit sellers and then trying to pass their ordinary pet as a real service animal.

An NBC news article on this topic said that “There is a big difference in the behavior of real service dogs and impostors inside businesses, experts said. A true service dog becomes nearly invisible. Pets might bark, urinate, sniff, scratch and eat off the floor”.

This goes hand-in-hand with dog owners who try to leverage these online services by buying from an online kit seller some service animal equipment and then trying to pass their untrained dog as a service dog by making it look like a real service dog. According to Dogbitelaw, “The law of certain jurisdictions makes it a crime to pretend to own or train a guide, signal or service dog”.

fake service dog

Emotional Support Animals on the other hand do not need vests or anything to perform emotionally comfort their owners. Getting esa equipment is therefore not necessary, but the esa must be accommodated with an official prescription letter from a licensed medical professional indicating that the owner needs the esa (i.e., for PTSD, depression, anxiety, coping after a major life event).

Lastly, a therapy animal is NOT considered service or emotional support dog and have absolutely no protections under the ADA laws. Therapy animals are usually called therapy dogs and they are trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, and to people with learning difficulties and stressful situations such as disaster areas.

How Do I Play It Fair Not Fake?

Service animals are very expensive and are given more privileges than ESAs and therapy animals. In terms of service animals, it is best to purchase them for what they’re actually worth which is from $10,000 to $20,000. NBC News also reported that the State of Virginia is cracking down on fake service dogs as well but with a lighter penalty of $250.

With ADA and HUD laws, any loving pet can become an ESA, but one must receive an Emotional Support Animal prescription letter from a licensed medical professional (preferably from a licensed psychologist) to show to the airlines or landlords. In addition, you may be eligible for an ESA prescription letter from us by taking our assessment as long as you have a qualifying emotional or psychological disorder such as:

  • Stress Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Panic/Anxiety Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Phobias
  • And Many More…

fake emotional support animal vest

Final Words Of Advice

All in all, it will be best to be diligent and fully be aware of the differences between the three kinds of animals. Most importantly, it is crucial to truly consider the consequences when thinking about going the cheaper way in getting equipment from questionable online kit-selling companies, especially if it pertains to service dogs. With all of the risks associated with faking a pet to be a service dog, one must ask oneself if it really is worth attempting to cheat the system. Not only to not get slammed by the law, but to also not ruin it for those with real disabilities and real service dogs, “Those with disabilities are worried about privacy and the safety of their highly trained service dogs, while business owners are concerned about health violations and damage to merchandise from impostors abusing the system”.


  1. Wow! I need to be more aware of these kinds of scams! Before I saw this, I thought I had to buy the vest, leash and stuff because everyone else was doing it. Some of the online sites make it seem like there’s no difference between an ordinary pet and an actual service dog! This post should be shared everywhere!

    1. Yes Marco,
      We feel that it is important to make the public aware of this. Many people have gotten into trouble from falling for these online kits. Such troubles could have been avoided if they had articles like these to read. Please do share this article with others to help us ensure that no one else falls for these vests, certificates, and kits.

  2. What would be the benefit of buying a pet identification card from your company? To fly with a pet outside of the carrier you must present a letter, I’m curious where I would use the card and if I need to add that to the order for my son.

  3. Thank you for making this information public. I paid $100 to get my dog “REGISTERED” as an ESA to then find out a week later than all I needed was a letter from a psychologist. There needs to be more awareness around this online so people stop getting scammed and taken advantage of. Thank you! 🙂

    1. I nearly paid that same $100. I decided to ask the company why I was paying for a letter if there was no quiz, no guarantee that I’d even get it. I received no answer. I emailed 2 times, called 3 times, then finally did a live chat. The lady was very rude. I told her she should be more kind since she’s being paid to do customer service. That there’s no harm in actually earning her paycheck. She told me to have a nice life. Real winning company there. And it’s one of the more popular ones too. I’m glad I came here.

      1. Author

        Thank you very much for coming to us Jeri! We are doing our best to educate the public about this matter as it is quite recent but extremely important for the public to become aware of this. We don’t want people pay for these services and then end up paying penalty fees as well.

    2. Author

      Hi Sonja,
      Thank you for coming to us. You made the right choice. It is a good idea to get your money back from whomever sold you that stuff as they are simply email spammers and aren’t doing you any good by selling you over-priced items that aren’t needed. We thank you for reading this.

  4. I too would like to know the benifit of purchasing the card. Where would I use the card vs. the letter? Thank you.

    1. Author

      You would usually use the ESA ID card at the TSA section in the airlines. It typically helps to have an ESA ID card when traveling internationally.

  5. I enjoy looking through your website. It was extremely fascinating. 🙂

  6. Wow thankyou so much. I thought on top of my doctors letter that I needed to order a starter kit for my esa. I am also trying to use breathing tenichs so I do not have to take my esa to inappropriate places out of respect for other people and the health of my esa exsposed to any extreme weather during our transporting of an outing that I must attend.

  7. I have a ESA prescription letter and i would like to get a vest for them even though it is not necessary. Where do I go online to get the real ones? Your site doesnt sell them, but I am getting the IDs from here.

    1. Author

      Hi Stacey,

      You’re correct, we don’t sell vests, collars, or leashes. You can purchase those at Amazon.com

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