Alabama law to crack down on false service-animal claims: report
Alabama residents who falsely claim their pets are service animals will face criminal charges under a new law set to take effect next month, according to a report.
The law, which is due to go into effect on Sept. 1, penalizes people who misrepresent a pet as a service animal in public spaces, or when seeking housing accommodations, al.com reported.
Such false claims would fall into the category of Class C misdemeanor, resulting in a $100 fine and up to 100 hours of community service, the report said.
The law further limits service animals to either dogs or miniature horses. The animals must be trained to perform a specific task that benefits a person with disabilities.
Under the law, a dog trained to help someone with visual impairments or with post-traumatic stress disorder would be allowed, but an animal that provides emotional support simply by being with someone would not.
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“A service animal may not be a pet,” the law says. “The crime-deterrent effect of the presence of an animal and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship may not constitute work or tasks.”
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The law will effectively include Alabama on a list of 25 states that have laws to address the fraudulent representation of service animals.