Can a Service Dog Also Be a Protection Dog?

Should the law allow a protection dog to be certified as a service dog (i.e., a dog for the blind, the handicapped, etc.)?

I was contacted by a member of the public who asked me to help get her dog back. It was a pit bull that was trained as a protection dog AND as a service dog. The lady is handicapped — in a wheelchair for life. Her dog attacked and injured a person, and the authorities ordered the animal to be put down because they concluded it presented a danger to the public.

She already had a lawyer, the hearing had already taken place, and she was calling me on Friday at 5 PM to try to prevent a Monday at 8 AM euthanasia. There was no way I could help her, because she didn’t give me the opportunity. Whether her position had merit was another matter.

To me, service dog and protection dog are two different things. A service dog has special permission to go where other dogs are not allowed: restaurants, hospitals, concert halls, etc. The badge of the service dog implies a well-mannered dog that exists for no reason other than to assist a handicapped person.

A protection dog is another creature entirely. He is as unapproachable as any other bodyguard. You keep him away from people. So how can a protection dog be a service dog? How can that be right? When I see a service dog in the future, I will wonder whether it would be just as happy biting me as it would be to help its owner cross the street.

In my opinion, the public is entitled to know that a service dog won’t bite, won’t protect. If the law allows service dogs to be trained as guard or protection dogs, the owners of service dogs will eventually suffer, because nobody will want the presence of such dogs (despite the laws which say that service dogs can go just about anywhere). Why should the public fear that a service dog might be an attack dog? It’s an absurd notion. But what do you think?