SB 1040: Service Animals; Misrepresentation
This bill prohibits a person from fraudulently misrepresenting an animal as a service animal, or service animal in training, to a person or entity that operates a public place. A court or duly appointed hearing officer may impose a civil penalty of $250.
First sponsor: Sen. Kavanagh
ADC Position: Oppose
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are permitted to go wherever a person can go in public.
The issue that the public is frustrated about is pets, not service animals. Legitimate service animals are generally extremely well behaved – so much so that they often go unnoticed.
This bill is unnecessary and does solve the problem of people taking pets into public places. Businesses already have the right to exclude pets and can even ask that a service animal be removed if defecating, urinating, barking incessantly, biting customers, etc.
Businesses are only permitted to ask two questions under the ADA:
- Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
Federal law specifically prohibits requiring an ID or specific training.
People with disabilities can train their service animals.
Education of businesses is the solution rather than a law that disproportionately and negatively affects people with disabilities.