Can Arizona enforce a law that punishes fake service animals?

Arizona State Senator John Kavanaugh (R-Fountain Hills) is introducing a bill that would penalize pet owners who try to pass their pets off as service animals.

The bill would impose a monetary fine on pet owners who are caught with fake service animals.

But Kavanaugh admits his bill would be very difficult, if not impossible to enforce.

“Ninety percent of the power of my bill is making what is currently a bad legal act, illegal,” Kavanaugh said, “in the hopes that people will do what they usually do and obey the law.”

“How could somebody be cited for this law? It would be a rare occasion,” Kavanaugh added.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits business owners from asking for proof that an animal is a service animal. It also prevents them from asking why someone needs a service animal.

Kavanaugh admitted a person would basically have to turn themselves in in order to be caught.

Disability advocates say there should be more education about the laws that are already out there, instead of adding another bill.

“The current law isn’t known and isn’t enforced,” Sarah Kader with the Arizona Center for Disability Law said. “Our concern is that you could have people with disabilities, police are being called and they’re being interrogated.”


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