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Arizona Senator wants fake service pets in the dog house

Posted at 6:43 AM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-27 08:43:16-05

A new bill is hoping to stop pet owners from passing their pets off as service animals. Arizona Senator John Kavanagh said too many people are abusing the system just to bring their pets into restaurants, grocery stores and other places they shouldn't be.

If approved, the new law would allow judges to impose fines of up to $250 on someone who lies about their animal being a real service animal. 

Critics of the bill say one problem with the legislation: it doesn't require all service animals to get formal training. The Arizona Center for Disability Law says it could have a negative impact on people with legitimate service animals -- forcing them to defend themselves and their animals.

A pet owner could be fined after a business owner who think a service animal is fake files a claim against the pet owner. That pet owner then has to appear in court and defend their pet as a service animal.

Last year, Governor Ducey signed another law allowing businesses to remove service pets if it misbehaves, is not housebroken, or "poses a direct threat to health and safety."

This current bill could be up for a vote in the next few months.