Florida To Crack Down On Fake Emotional Support Animals, Rule Out Most Online Verification

While many people legitimately need them, a lot of fake service animals are out there.

A trainer works at teaching a guide dog at the China Guide Dog Training Center
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While many people legitimately need them, a lot of fake service animals are out there.

In the last couple of decades, service and emotional support animals have grown in number due to a large number of people who need them. These animals can help out in a great number of ways, but they aren’t always legitimate. That is causing problems for those who actually need these animals and Florida is looking to crack down on fake emotional support animals by working on a bill that will require proof if a person needs one.

For years, many have said that there would be no way to verify that a person needed an emotional support animal and that it would be illegal to inquire about it. This has led to many people going online and simply filling out verification forms or citing “doctors” to get the necessary paperwork needed for their emotional support animal.

Most of the time, that paperwork is not legitimately verified, which means the animal is not an official emotional support companion. That being said, numerous businesses have cracked down on allowing entry of any animals, which has become a problem for those with PTSD or other emotional concerns and who require these emotional support animals.

According to The Miami Herald, not only have problems arrived for those actually needing the animals, but bigger issues have even come about. There have been numerous incidents in which “emotional support animals” have attacked people and caused other problems for airlines, but Florida is looking to change all of that.

Many people get the so-called verification to receive the label or an emotional support animal in order to get out of paying travel fees on airlines and trains, as well as in hotels. They also get the verifications in order to be able to take their pets with them wherever they go and not be questioned about it.

A number of people actually use false verification to bring their pets into malls, movie theaters, and even places such as Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

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The new bill being worked on in Florida can be found on the official website for the Florida Senate, and it will require pet owners to have their pets authorized by legitimate doctors. Those doctors would have to provide actual verification for the emotional support animals.

Along with that, the bill would also bring down punishment upon anyone falsifying documents for an emotional support animal by charging them with a second-degree misdemeanor. At the present time, Florida law states that knowingly misrepresenting their pet as an emotional or service animal would receive 30 hours of community service.

Emotional support animals are needed by hundreds of thousands of people for legitimate reasons and everyday activities. Life has become increasingly difficult on those people due to the issues brought about by others who try and “verify” fake emotional support animals. If the bill to crack down on them ends up passing in Florida, it could start a trend in other states.