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Misrepresenting an animal as a Service Dog isn’t funny, it’s illegal

It’s not clear if she was joking or not, but actress and comedian Natasha Leggero claimed to pretend she has epilepsy so that she could bring her pet into restaurants as a Service Dog on national TV Monday night.

Joking or not, Leggero harmed disabled people who use Service Dogs with her comments on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show on Monday. If she wasn’t joking, she admitted to committing something that is not only unethical, it’s a crime.

Natasha Leggero on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Actress and comedian Natasha Leggero on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno

We urge you to contact Leggero to let her know your feelings. If she is indeed faking epilepsy and having her pet pose as a Service Dog, she must deal with the legal and social consequences.

“Sometimes I pretend like I have epilepsy so I can get into restaurants [with my dog].” —Natasha Leggero”

Issuing an apology is a good first step, but after comments like hers on national TV we would suggest she go further and donate time or money to the Service Dog organization of her choice.

As you likely know, we’re based around one simple premise: to help reduce the number of people abusing the law by requiring our Registrants to understand that intentionally misrepresenting an animal as Service or Assistance Animal for any reason is not only unethical, it is also illegal and may be punishable by fines or imprisonment. Disabled individuals who use Service Dogs have worked hard to gain their privileges. Their excellent behavior and commitment to training have granted them the liberty to bring their Service Dogs into public places so that they may perform tasks or work that assist with their disabilities. And Natasha, misrepresenting an animal as a Service Dog isn’t funny, it’s illegal.

We urge you to contact Natasha Leggero and her agents to let her know your feelings.

Brillstein Entertainment Partners
Geoff Cheddy  g.cheddy@bep-la.com

The Gersh Agency
Bernie Spektor  BSpektor@gershla.com
TJ Markwalter (PA)  tj@gershla.com

Email Natasha Leggero directly at natasha@natashaleggero.com or on Twitter @natashaleggero

Natasha Leggero is an actress and comedian who can be seen regularly on Chelsea Lately. She currently stars in Comedy Central’s animated series Ugly Americans and Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time.  Natasha will be playing the role of Emma in NBC’s Free Agents this fall.

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Comments

  • David September 22, 2011

    This makes me SO MAD!

  • Shawna Mayo September 27, 2011

    I am appalled that Ms. Leggero would pretend to have a serious disability let alone announce that she does that on national television!! I actually have a seizure disorder and am currently training my German Shepherd to be my service dog. It is people like her that make it increasingly difficult for those of us battling true diseases and ailments.

    Claiming that your pet is a service animal is AGAINST THE LAW!!! It is punishable by fines and imprisonment. By abusing the ADA regulations, you are making public access for those of us with true ailments a nightmare when all we want to do is be as normal as everyone else. To have our independence and go out to restaurants feeling secure that our best friends is trained to assist us when we need it.

    By laughing and making light of pretending your pet is a service animal, you have insulted your fans on one of the highest levels. You have lost my support, and I know that you have lost the support of those of us requiring the use of a service animal. Without your fans, you have no direction and no reason to continue doing what you’re doing. Without our service animals, we have no direction and do not have the ability to continue doing what we are doing.

    • Matthew Pressley August 31, 2014

      U people are all retarded. Being able to joke about things is one thing that helps keep life in perspective. Who are any of you to try to draw lines for what is “acceptable” to joke about. I’m going to email her and her agents and tell them how awesome I thought it was. Maybe even start a blog and encourage others to do they same. I don’t even particularly like her routines and didn’t really laugh at this particular joke; I just hate your mentality of trying to control what someone should or shouldn’t say.

  • Beatice Thomas March 9, 2012

    That is disgraceful!! I am waiting to get a service dog for myself.

    Sadly, my daughter doesn’t “believe” in service dogs, and doesn’t think they should be allowed in restaurants unless they are seeing eye guide dogs–sour grapes because she can’t bring her dog in?

    Oddly, one of my “favorite” places to fall is going into places with a step at the entrance! Service dog anyone?

  • Dustina ILia September 25, 2013

    So many facilities do not want a Service Dog in their Establishment because they are ill-informed as to exactly what a Service Dog is all about and what it provide to the person utilizing this dog and the freedoms that the in dependency that these Service Animals bring to the individual. I am blind and went to a Guide Dog School for a month to be trained with my Guide Dog and I have been told that I could not bring my dog into a facility that I was going to. I am blind, my disability is obvious and I have the certificates and ID that my dog is a Legitimate Service & Guide Dog as well as the harness that I use has the name engraved into the leather harness from the School in which it was trained at. It is hard to reflect the importance that these Service Animals are to an individual with Disabilities and for them to understand that these are highly trained animals who have been taught to be Social able, well behaved around all environments whether it be a Drug Store, a Candy Store a Restaurant, a Hospital, Doctor Office or whatever but when you have people who abuse this privilege by passing their own personal “Pets” off a Service Animals who are not well trained, misbehave, are unruly and aggressive…..it ruins it for us who do truly have a disability and takes away our rights to live independently as Disabled People just striving to have a normal life. I earned my right to my Service Dog with the loss of my eyesight and for someone to jeopardize my right to have my much needed Service Dog because of their own person ignorance and stupidity is just appalling. I agree, that .Ms. Leggero should be held accountable and spend a month is a Service Dog Training School to see what all these dogs are trained to do and the courageous people who step out of their fear and comfort zone to achieve the freedoms and independency, as well as the respect of humanity & themselves by moving forward thru their Disability to acquire a Service Animal. My Guide Dog has already saved my life one time by blocking me from going into the street when a car was coming. He saved my life. Can your “pet” do that Ms. Leggero?

  • Dustina ILia September 25, 2013

    Hey there, I just received and e-mail from you requesting of me to “Confirm” my subscription to your blog titled Natasha and when I click onto the “Confirm” button…..it won’t do anything. Help!

    • Kea Grace September 25, 2013

      Hmmm; that’s odd! I don’t see you on the subscriber list. Try signing up again and if that doesn’t work, I’ll add you manually.

      • Dustina ILia September 25, 2013

        Okay, I tried to subscribe again. Will see what happens.

      • Dustina ILia September 25, 2013

        Also, I sent a message to all of the e-mails given above regarding Ms. Leggero and they all came back as undeliverable due to invalid e-mail.

  • T whitley June 30, 2014

    I am a service dog trainer (volunteer). It takes 2 years of my life to train a dog to send into the world to help someone with a disability of any kind. To see someone on national tv display such rude behavior makes me want to smak the crap out of her. I don’t get paid to do this. I incur all the fees in raising this dog. The company I do this for doesn’t pick up the vet bills or any bills for that fact. The only happiness I get from training a service dog is seeing that dog with it’s new owner and working the way I taught the dog to do. (of course I love having the dog for 2 years and YES its hard to give them up). I hate seeing people vest a dog and say “oh thats my service dog”. I know they are lying when the dog starts barking, or they are in the persons purse. Service dogs don’t ride, they walk. What is this world coming to, when a disabled person has to be disgraced by a star on TV? Isn’t it hard enough to be disabled? Isn’t it hard enough to have panic attacks so bad that they need a service dog to help them through it. Isn’t it hard enough to be autistic? Or how about blind or deaf? Really people, if you have to carry a fake service dog, just so you can have your dog with you and lie your way through life doing it. Stay Home!!!!!

  • Brenda Moore September 8, 2014

    MAN if you only knew how hard it is to deal w/ a real disability…then to fake it . It’s like she is making fun of all of us who really are disabled! We get enough “flack” just trying to live our lives w/ our SD’s in public….we sure don’t need her doing this on top of it all. Unfortunately it’s becoming a real problem with alot of people just wanting to take their dogs everywhere. It’s going to make the laws tougher and that is just going to be one more hurdle for those of us who really need our SD’s in our daily lives. THANKS ALOT ….

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