Florida lawmakers are cracking down on service dog impostors. According WPBF, the state believes that too many pet owners without real disabilities are claiming that their animal is a service dog, making it hard for those who legitimately need their service animals to dine at restaurants. A bill has been introduced that would make it illegal to bring uncertified service animals into restaurants.
One woman with cerebral palsy tells the news channel that "she regularly runs into fake service dogs that yap, growl and even try to attack" and are clearly not trained. Plus, she says she faces extra scrutiny whenever she tries to bring her dog anywhere due to the stigma associated with faux service animals. If the law passes, violators could have to pay up to $500 in fines and spend up to 60 days in jail.
Restaurants have had issues with service dogs — fake or real — for quite some time. In August, a couple filed a complaint against a restaurant in Florida after they were forced to leave because they brought "their service dogs to breakfast." An employee of the restaurant didn't believe that the couple's dogs were actually service animals. In 2011, a restaurant in Boston turned away a group of disabled people because they had six service dogs with them.