“People with a wide range of disabilities rely on service animals every day to keep themselves safe and help complete tasks that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible,” said Carroll. “Lately though we’re seeing more frequent instances where people are bringing their pets into public places under the guise of being a service animal. This can be disruptive to the work of legitimate service animals, as well as to business owners and other customers if the animal is not properly trained in obedience.”
Carroll is backing House Bill 5610, which prohibits pet owners from intentionally misrepresenting a service animal. The measure also allows law enforcement to request the removal of a non-service animal from a public place if its behavior is disruptive or poses a safety risk to other patrons.
“It’s important to me that our state’s laws support, rather than undermine, the work of trained service animals to meet the survival needs of people with disabilities,” said Carroll. “As much as we love them, pets are not the same as service animals that are trained to serve a specific purpose and should not be treated as such.”