Service Animal Bill Moves to the Senate for Approval

By  | 

Legislators say more and more business owners are dealing with fake service animals, something that harms people who have real ones.
A bill is moving through the legislature to create stricter laws for people with fake service animals and a clear picture for those who really need them.

Mary Flanderka told News 13, “It's sad that we actually have to legislate against fake service dogs. That's kind of sad.”

But that's what's happening.

House Bill 114 is a layered bill, first establishing clear rules for people with service animals.

Under the bill, service animals would be allowed into any establishment without a fiscal responsibility. If a business owner denies them entry they will face a fine.

Representative Landon Brown House District 9 shared, “They have to be under control, they have to help and perform a task and do work for the individual, there's a lot of information there.”

The bill also establishes a misdemeanor offense for someone with a fake service animal.

Representative James Byrd from House District 44 added, “If they're not trained service animals, then they shouldn't be allowed into these facilities and in the case of the hotels, they should be paying that extra charge for them.”

Mary Flanderka works with service animals and helps those who need them. She feels fake service animals harm people with real disabilities.

“It's puts people with legitimate service dogs on the defensive sometimes inside public buildings, because of these fake service dogs, it's created this situation for those people who really don't want to be confronted.”

But how will this bill be enforced when many who actually need service animals, don't have physical disabilities?

Wyoming law doesn't require a person to register their service animal.

Representative Brown added, “Talking to the person that has the service animal and just defining, is this a service animal and what tasks does it perform? If the business owner doesn't feel comfortable with the answers to those questions, they can contact law enforcement and law enforcement can actually determine whether this is a service animal.”

The bill passed the House Tuesday and is to hit the Senate later this week.

Also under the bill, a person who injures or kills a service or assistance animal could spend up to six months in prison, a 750 dollar fine or both. Plus that person would be required to pay for a new animal and their training or pay for the training of an injured animal.