The California Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a bill on Tuesday, July 13, that would further clarify the difference between true service animals and emotional support animals in the state.
AKC appreciates the efforts being made by the legislature to clearly differentiate between animals trained as service animals and those meant to provide solely emotional support. In particular, we appreciate and commend their intention to clarify that the state does not allow emotional support animals to be granted the same access and privileges as trained service animals. For more information on AKC’s position on this issue, visit our Key Issues page at www.akcgr.org/servicedogs.
Those interested in this issue are encouraged to contact the members of the committee using the information below.
As currently written Assembly Bill 468 would do the following:
- Define an “emotional support dog” as a dog that is intended to provide comfort or emotional support and that does not meet the definition of a guide, signal, or service dog
- Clarify that a person or business that sells or provides a dog for use as an emotional support dog, or provides/sells an identification/leash/vest/harness, etc. identifying the dog as an emotional support animal must continue to provide a written notice to the recipient stating that the dog does not have the special training required to qualify as a guide or service dogs, and that the dog is not entitled to the rights and privileges provided by law to a service dog. In addition, the notice must also state that it is a misdemeanor to knowingly and fraudulently represent yourself to be the owner or trainer of a dog licensed as, qualified as, or identified as a guide, service or signal dog.
- Clarify that a health care practitioner must, in addition to complying with current procedures to document a patient’s need for an emotional support animal, provide written notice that it is a misdemeanor under state law to fraudulently misrepresent yourself to be the owner or trainer of a dog identified, licensed, or qualified as a guide, service or signal dog. In, addition, the practitioner may be subject to discipline from their licensing board for violations.
- Provide fines for knowingly and fraudulently representing, selling (or attempting to represent or sell) an emotional support dog and claiming they are entitled to the same rights and privileges as guide, service or signal dogs.
What You Can Do:
Those who wish may contact the California Senate Judiciary Committee prior to the July 13 meeting in one of the following ways:
Contact each member of the committee:
Sen. Thomas Umberg, Chair
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4034
Santa Ana District Office: (714) 558-3785
Online form: https://sd34.senate.ca.gov/contact
Sen. Andreas Borgeas, Vice Chair
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4008
Fresno District Office: (559) 243-8580
Online form: https://borgeas.cssrc.us/e-mail-senator
Sen. Anna Caballero
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4012
Salinas District Office: (831) 769-8040
Online form: https://sd12.senate.ca.gov/contact
Sen. Maria Elena Durazo
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4024
Los Angeles District Office: (213) 483-9300
Online Form: https://sd24.senate.ca.gov/contact
Sen. Lena Gonzalez
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4033
Long Beach District Office: 562-256-7921
Online Form: https://sd33.senate.ca.gov/contact/send-e-mail
Sen. Robert Hertzberg
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4018
Van Nuys District Office: (818) 901-5588
Online Form: https://sd18.senate.ca.gov/contact/email
Sen. Brian Jones
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4038
El Cajon District Office: (619) 596-3136
Online form: https://jones.cssrc.us/e-mail-senator
Sen. John Laird
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4017
Monterey District Office: (831) 657-6315
Sen. Henry Stern
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4027
Calabasas Office: (818) 876-3352
Sen. Bob Wieckowski
Online form: https://sd10.senate.ca.gov/contact/email
Sen. Scott Wiener
Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4011
San Francisco District Office: (415) 557-1300
Online form: https://sd11.senate.ca.gov/contact
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor all legislation of interest to California dog owners. For more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.