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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

This Thursday, May 16, the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs will consider SB 2158, an Act Relative to Protecting Service Dogs.  To ensure that individuals and businesses will be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, this bill makes the misrepresentation of a pet dog as a service dog a civil offense, punishable by 30 hours of community service with an organization that serves individuals with disabilities or up to a $500 fine.

  • The American Kennel Club (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 individual using the dog is not a person with a disability. Bringing untrained dogs into situations for which they are ill-equipped, puts everyone at risk.
  • Untrained animals fraudulently presented as service dogs in public places have been known to start fights, get up on restaurant furniture, relieve themselves in stores, and damage property.
  • An even more disturbing result is that those with legitimate service dogs are being denied access to public places where they have the right to go because of the poor behavior of pets and their owners who fraudulently attempt to pass them off as a service dog.

Massachusetts residents are encouraged to contact the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs to express support of SB 2158 before this Friday, May 17.

Senate Chairman Walter Timilty
Phone: (617) 722-1643 or Email:

House Chairwoman Linda Dean Campbell
Phone: (617) 722-2380 or Email:

For more information on these or other legislative issues in Massachusetts, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or; or MassFed at