The bill, which was sent to the governor’s desk on a 46-2 vote, follows a federal guideline that says service animals can only be dogs or miniature horses that have been trained to assist a person’s sensory, mental or physical disability. They would be allowed at public accommodations and commercial facilities.
“Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business,” said Republican state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, who introduced the Massachusetts bill. “Their animals aren’t trained and end up misbehaving in these public places, which gives real service dogs a bad name.”
A new Washington law that allows businesses to question whether the animal accompanying a customer is a true service animal may provide some clarity and keep some people from trying to pass off their untrained pet, Womble and others said.