Bill would ban misrepresenting a pet as a service animal

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The Senate voted on Monday to prohibit anyone without a disability or who is not trained to help people with disabilities from fraudulently representing a pet as a service animal. Senate Bill 1223 was introduced by Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant.

“Unfortunately, some members of our society will take advantage of the benefits of a service animal and mimic their need for one, thereby causing harm to those who have a legitimate need for such an animal. We have seen this in various scenarios, and business owners are begging for help,” Bullard said. “Now we are faced with the fraudulent use of these animals, causing hardship for children, veterans and many more. others who really need it. My bill will make this disgusting activity a crime. We won’t tolerate people posing as disabled, all to save money or bring their favorite pet to a store that doesn’t allow it.

Under SB 1223, anyone without a disability or who is not trained to help people with disabilities would be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face a $500 fine if they attempted to present a pet as a service animal. to obtain treatment or benefits. disabled people. The bill would allow any public facility to post signage stating that it is a crime under state law to misrepresent an animal as a service animal.

The bill will then be considered in the House of Representatives.

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