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Today, the Senate Committee on Law and Justice will conduct a hearing on House Bill 2822, which more closely aligns Washington’s definition of a service dog with the American With Disabilities Act’s definition.  This bill will also make it a civil infraction with a possible fine of $500 to misrepresent a companion animal as a service dog or for use of a service dog’s status by a person who is not disabled.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) strongly supports the training and use of service dogs.  Each day, these dogs provide essential services to benefit and assist people with a variety of challenges.  Those who misrepresent an animal as a service animal can hinder these important services, as some public places can only accommodate a certain number of animals.  Further, legitimate service and assistance animals are specially trained, and locations that accommodate service animals expect that level of training when allowing these animals to enter.

The AKC strongly condemns characterizing dogs as service animals when they are not, or attempting to benefit from a dog’s service dog status when the person does not have a disability or need for a service animal.  House Bill 2822 would make it a civil infraction to misrepresent a service animal to gain rights or privileges reserved for those persons with a disability.

This bill has already passed the House earlier this month on a 98-0 vote and we encourage you to contact the Senate Committee members in support of HB 2822.

Jamie Pederson, Chair,, (360) 786-7628

Manka Dingra, Vice Chair,, (360) 786-7672

Mike Padden, Ranking Member,, (360) 786-7606

Jan Angel, Assistant Ranking Member,, (360) 786-7650

Jeannie Darnielle,, (360) 786-7652

David Frockt,, (360) 786-7690

Lynda Wilson,, (360) 786-7632