Florida recently passed a new law that will impose penalties for passing off a pet as a service animal as well as provide businesses the right to question the validity of a “service animal”.
To protect those with real service animals, the new law imposes fines on businesses that fail to provide service to someone with a service dog.
The penalty for passing off an unregistered animal is $500 and up to 60 days in jail. The penalty for failing to provide service to those with registered service animals is $500 with the possibility of up to 30 hours of community service.
The law went into effect on July 1 and classifies both crimes as second degree misdemeanors.
Across the country there is a trend of people claiming to have service animals in order to get their pets into restaurant and movies. This is having a detrimental effect on people with service animals in many ways, one of which is a higher level of skepticism.