March 07, 2018 06:31 PM
A bill that would fine those who misrepresent their pets as trained service animals is headed to the floor of the Minnesota Senate.
The measure would make the offense a petty misdemeanor, punishable with a $100 fine.
A Senate public safety panel moved the bill to the Senate floor Wednesday. Supporters of the fines say passing off untrained pets as service animals is similar to people parking in handicapped spots they're not entitled to.
Minneapolis resident Terri Krake said 'impostor' service dogs distract her own service dog Brody from his duties.
At times they've attacked Brody, she said.
She and other supporters hope fines will spread awareness and deter the practice. Lawmakers said the initiative is part of a growing nationwide concern.
More than a dozen other state legislatures are considering similar measures.
"It's inappropriate, it's immoral and we want to make it clearly illegal with this legislation," said Alan Peters, the executive director of Can Do Canines.
"Having fake dogs enter public places distracts our dogs causes them not to be able to do their jobs properly."
Martha Harris is blind and has a service dog. She said she also supports the legislation.
"I think it can be helpful," Harris said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
The Associated Press
Updated: March 07, 2018 06:31 PM
Created: March 07, 2018 10:21 AM
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)