PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ — David Keller from Prescott Valley thought it was too easy to register therapy and service animals.
"We go out and pretty much everywhere we go we see a fake service animal that's being passed off as a real one," says Keller.
To prove his point, he registered not an animal, but an insect. Keller located a website that registers therapy and service animals for free.
After the free registration, branded harnesses, badges and more are available for purchase. Within five minutes, he says he successfully registered a beehive as a therapy animal.
Although the registration was completed, it wouldn't hold up against Arizona law according to Sey In, an attorney with the Arizona Center for Disability Law.
"If he were to go to a restaurant or a business and wanted to bring in the beehive and call it a service animal. By law, he can't do that," says In.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Arizona law includes service animals, not therapy animals, and defines service animals as a dog or miniature horse trained to perform tasks for a person with disabilities.
Asking for identification is considered discrimination and registration is not required. So a piece of paper isn't really necessary. "There's no legal value to it but it might provide some sort of peace of mind," says In.
Still, Keller thinks too many pet owners are trying to take advantage of the system. He says, "I wish there were more restrictions on it or something to show that it's real."
A representative from the site Keller used to register the photo of a beehive said the registration would be flagged if Keller attempted to, after the free registration, purchase branded gear.