It could soon be a crime to pass off your pet as a service animal

A bill unanimously gained approval in the Minnesota House.
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Who would do this, right? But people trying to pass off their pets as service animals is a problem and one Minnesota lawmakers want to stop.

Minnesota is set to be the latest state to crack down on those who pretend their pets are service animals to gain favorable access to restaurants, hotels and places of business.

PBS reported last year that as many as 19 other states in the country are taking similar measures, saying it's giving service animals a bad name when owners slap a vest on their pets who don't know how to behave in public situations.

It's led to situations where untrained pets have attacked genuine service animals in public spaces, as this article by the Chicago Tribune describes.

On Monday, the Minnesota House passed by a vote of 125-0 a bill that would make it a petty misdemeanor to misrepresent an animal as a service animal in a public place to obtain rights or privileges afforded to genuine service animals.

It was sponsored by Rep. Steve Green (R–Fosston), and there's a companion bill in the Senate sponsored by Sen. Justin Eichorn (R–Grand Rapids).

According to Session Daily, Green said the law would "provide protection for businesses and those who have a true need."

Session Daily also notes that two questions can be asked of someone with "invisible" disability claiming an animal as a service animal: "Is this animal required because of a disability?" and "What work or task has that animal been trained to perform?"

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