Photo: Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash
If you’re thinking of sneaking your regular ol’ doggo into service-dog-only establishments using a vest you bought on the Internet, think again — in Minnesota, this may soon be illegal and punishable with a fine.
“Minnesota lawmakers are considering bipartisan legislation that would criminalize taking an untrained service animal out in public,” reports MPR News this week. “Separate measures in the state House and Senate would make it a petty misdemeanor, punishable with a $100 fine, to pass off a pet as a trained assistance animal. Subsequent infractions would be considered misdemeanors under the bills.”
Our pals at Can Do Canines support these proposed laws, saying, “Misrepresenting an animal as a service animal is not a victimless crime. It negatively impacts those with a disability and a real service animal.”
“Fake service dogs do not receive rigorous training,” Can Do Canines points out. “This can pose a potential danger in public situations with overly excited or aggressive behavior towards humans or real service dogs. When an ill-trained animal is interfering with a service dog’s ability to do their often life-saving job, they are interfering with that person’s right to have a service dog that improves their quality of life.”
Luckily for Minnesota dog owners, tons of local establishments (including indoor spots) welcome leashed, well-behaved dogs whether or not they’re service animals. Stick to the places that welcome your pups — there are plenty!
Do you support these new laws? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!