A Service Dog, A Bite and a Denial 10/17/13
CBS 7 News
October 17, 2013
MIDLAND-CBS7 told you weeks ago about Misty Barton, who claimed she and her dog were wrongfully thrown out of a store.
Now the dog is under fire after he bit someone. Now CBS 7 is looking into just how well service dogs are trained.
There's no federally-mandated national standard for the training of service dogs, but one thing is clear--it's very unusual for a well-trained service dog to bite.
Misty Barton's service dog Tanner bit a woman's hand (a customer) inside the Midland Petsmart store last Saturday, According to Petsmart spokesperson Erin Gray. Gray said they had to cover the cost for stitches.
"It was not a bite per say, said Tanners owner Misty Barton. A nip, I would call it a nip.
We went to an expert; Margaret McDonough is vice president of a national company that trains service dogs for veterans.
"That's a rare occurrence, the only instance you ever hear of a [service] dog biting is when the handler is in trouble, said McDonough, Vice President of Shepherds For Lost Sheep, Inc.
Petsmart says tanner was not wearing a service vest when it happened.
"He was not on duty, Barton said.
McDonough says service dogs trained well should not have any aggression in their temperament.
I don't think there is any reason why that dog should not be clearly marked at any point, McDonough said.
As far as accountability, McDonough says their animals meet an American Kennel Club Good Citizen standard, but there are no national requirements for training and some train their own dogs.
"If they bring us to the table to formulate national standards, it really could be a good thing, McDonough said.
And the telltale vest? Easy as eBay.
"Unfortunately, you can go online and buy a service dog vest for under $50 and just put it on your dog, McDonough said.
Barton does have a medical prescription for tanner because of a seizure disorder. We got in touch with Tanner's trainer; she says she never saw any issue with the dog.
Barton says tanner will receive additional obedience training. Midland Animal Services says the dog is under a mandatory house quarantine following the incident.
You can read our original story about Tanner at This Link.