19 States Pass Laws To Crack Down On ‘Fake’ Service Animals, More Likely To Join

As time goes on, more and more animals are being seen in public places due to being there for service and comfort, but that may soon change. A number of states have joined in to pass laws that will start cracking down on the number of service animals that aren’t actually service animals at all. Many people will have vests created or purchased for their pets and started calling them service animals, but that won’t be as easy to do anymore.

In a report from USA Today, 19 states have started bringing laws into place that will crack down on people who try to pass their pets off as legitimate service animals. These laws are coming from incidents in which legitimate service animals and people have been attacked by the pets of others.

When it comes to a service animal (dog or other), there is no actual recognized certification that one can acquire as revealed by Anything Pawsable.

“There is no such thing as a universally or legally-recognized certification, registration or training standards for Service Dogs — or trainers. While some trainers and organizations may say they ‘certify’ their graduates, that status is something granted by them and is not recognized under law, and often not by other trainers or organizations.”

With that so-called “loophole” in the system, a lot of people bring their pets from home and try to pass them off as animals of need and requirement.

states laws passed fake service animals dogs

In 2016, Virginia put a new law in place to help stop people from passing their house pets off as service animals. Colorado decided to follow up on that by bringing the law in this year and Massachusetts is looking at doing the same as well.

Service dogs and other animals were first trained to help those who have a disability or may have hearing and vision impairments. People in wheelchairs have started making use of service animals as well as those who need help with other medical conditions, but a lot of people have chosen to take advantage of this situation.

Walking around places such as Walt Disney World or Disneyland, there are almost countless animals being led around or being carried or even in strollers. Some may be legitimate and others may not, but as Anything Pawsable states, no one can be asked if the dog or animal is a legitimate service animal.

states laws passed fake service animals dogs

Without there being any sort of actual certification or national registry, it is almost impossible to determine which service animals are legitimate or not. Still, the laws are going to help dish out punishments if an animal can be proven to simply be a house pet.

By these new laws, it will be considered a misdemeanor to have an untrained dog represent a service animal. Anyone caught to be doing that could be hit with a fine of up to as much as $500 for just a single incident.

As David Favre, a law professor at Michigan State University College of Law, states, fake service animals are causing big problems for citizens and business owners. For those wondering, though, it’s not that difficult to spot an actual service animal.

“A service animal is trained to be in public and to be under control and non-intrusive and not bark. They are trained not to be a nuisance in any way. You should hardly even know they are there.”

Service animals are extremely necessary as there are many people who need them for multiple reasons due to disabilities or for medical assistance. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people who feel as if bringing their common house pets into public is enough for them to do whatever they please. While it will be incredibly hard to enforce, more states are joining in on passing laws to try and cut down on the number of “fake” service animals who are walking around.

[Featured Image by Brad Barket/Getty Images]