WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - With more and more people trying to bring their uncertified and untrained animals into businesses, it's making things more difficult for those who have animals that have been through months and months of rigorous training, according to a local group.
"It's a hole in the law which I don't know when someone is going to fix it," said Terry Henry with paws4people."I would vote for it today versus tomorrow. It causes a lot of problems."
Henry said that when people bring untrained animals into businesses and they are unruly, those who have properly trained service dogs have a harder time going into the same places.
"In our view, the legitimate service dogs are like a wheelchair is to people who need that kind of assistance," Henry said. "You take the dogs away from some of our veterans who have PTSD or military sexual trauma and it's the same thing as taking a prosthetic leg away from someone. They need this to function."
Dogs in the paws4people program go through a thorough training process that usually takes between 18 and 24 months.
About 15 months of that is working with inmates in prison who teach the animals about 100 commands.
The dogs then work with students at UNCW before they begin the process of being paired with a person.
"The critical part is when we match them up with a client," Henry said. "It's highly selective. We have about one out of 50 applicants that we can pick and out through that training."
The client's training with the service can take up to six to 20 months.
For more information on paws4people, click here.