Fake Service Animals Become an Increasing Worry For Lawmakers

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“I know that fake service dogs hurt the public perception of real service dogs because I see it every day,” service dog owner Christine Slavin told CBS News. “There are people that have been bitten in stores… dogs have had accidents in stores, or just been generally disruptive.”

USA Today highlights an incident that took place a couple of years ago in Reading, Massachusetts between a woman in a wheelchair in an elevator with her yellow lab service dog and another woman with a small poodle in her purse. The poodle lunged at the lab and attacked its nose, leaving it injured and bleeding. The woman with the poodle claimed her pet was a service dog, next she said it was an emotional support dog, and then she admitted that she just wanted an excuse to bring her pet inside. Unfortunately, this occurrence happens more often than one would think, so lawmakers are being asked to take action.

CBS News explains that only in 12 states is it illegal to misrepresent a service animal. Soon, Massachusetts could be joining the number of states where lawmakers have put their foot down concerning the issue. “The toughest is in California, where the maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail,” the news explains. NBC DFW says that a bill in Texas was proposed earlier this year to create punishments for passing off a fake service animal, but nothing has become of it.