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Federal law could prevent crackdown on fake service animals

Posted at 5:09 AM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 07:22:13-05

Several states want to crack down on fake service animals, but the federal law could hinder it, according to legal expert Don Alvarez

According to The Now, 19 states and several cities have passed laws to make it illegal to claim a fake service animal.

However, there’s only been one case where someone was ticketed for using an untrained dog as a service animal. 

Alvarez said that under federal law, a business owner could only ask a person with a service dog two questions:

• Is the dog required because of a disability?

• What task(s) is your animal trained to perform?

“There’s not much that can be done because even if you find someone who has violated that law, what police officer is going to come and try to enforce the law when typically it’s either a low-class misdemeanor or even a petty offense?” Alvarez said.

There is a difference between service animals and emotional support animals (ESA’s) that are often seen on flights.

ESA’s can make a person feel better by helping calm their anxiety on board flights.

However, many worry people are taking advantage of the system when it comes to ESA’s which could put people at risk. 

Legitimate service animals go through years of rigorous and expensive training. There is no required training for an ESA.

On a Delta flight this past year, an ESA attacked man in the face.