Misrepresenting a pet as a service animal will soon be a crime in Alabama

A golden retriever service dog gets a long overdue reward - a pet on his chin as he looks adoringly at his master. (A golden retriever service dog gets a long overdue reward - a pet on his chin as he looks adoringly at his master., ASCII, 115 componen

You may wish your pet could go everywhere with you but there are many places where only service animals are allowed.

A new law in Alabama is cracking down on owners who try to misrepresent their pets as service animals.

Al.com reports it will soon be a criminal act to claim your pet is a service animal when it is not. That includes anyone who misrepresents a pet as a service animal or an animal-in-training in public spaces or housing.

If someone knowingly and willingly misrepresents themselves as an owner or trainer of a service animal they will be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. The fine is $100 and 100 hours of community service with an organization that serves individuals with a disability.

The new law will also protect businesses and their employees from being charged if someone pretending to have a service animal is caught on their premises. If a service animal is removed for being a direct threat to others at a public place they must provide the person with a disability the option of returning without having the service animal on the premises.

According to state and federal laws, the term service animal only applies to a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a disability.

Allergies and fear of animals are still not valid reasons for refusing service to an individual with a service animal.

Governor Kay Ivey signed the law in June, it goes into effect September 1st.

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