Pet owners can be fined for misrepresentation of service animals

The trend of trying to pass off a pet as a service animal to get into public places, has definitely increased in the last few years. But those that do might want to think again.

Arizona State Senator John Kavanagh (R) – District 23 is now cracking down on the falsification of service animals. Arizona now has a new law that makes it a crime to try to pass off your pet as a service animal. Those that are caught will be subject to a $250 fine.

“We want to send them a message that it’s dangerous, it’s wrong, and you’re subject to a fine,” said State Senator John Kavanagh

Kavanagh sponsored the bill because he felt that it was too easy for people to pass off their pet as a service animal and it needed to stop.

There is no registry for service animals and you can easily purchase a designated vest for under $20.00 at Amazon.  All that is required of owners are the presence of a disability or that their animal perform a necessary task.

Those that truly depend on a service animal feel that it is about time for something to be done about it.  Mitch Garica is a disabled veteran who relies on a service animal and said, “I’m tired of people buying these vests, slapping them on their pets and calling them a service dog,” Garcia said.

Garcia feels that “This is medical equipment; it’s not just a dog.”
Pets posing as phony service animals only hurt the credibility of real service animals. In addition, they are not only impersonating a service animal, you’re impersonating a disability. “It gets annoying. It’s getting really, really annoying,” said Garcia.

Senator Kavanagh says the law is the same as Arizona’s jaywalking laws. Not everyone will get caught, but there is now a law on the books to remind people that this is wrong and if caught, they will be punished.