Wednesday, September 11, 2019
On Tuesday, September 17 at 1pm, the Massachusetts General Court’s Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider HB 3657 regarding the misrepresentation of service animals. The bill ensures that individuals and businesses will be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, by making the misrepresentation of a pet dog as a service dog a civil offense. Violators would be punished with 30 hours of community service with an organization that serves individuals with disabilities or a $500 fine, or both. Repeat offenders would perform 60 hours of service and pay a $600 fine, or both.
- 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 poorly-behaved pets whose owners fraudulently claim are service dogs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Massachusetts residents are encouraged to contact the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Judiciary to express support of HB 3657; or attend the September 17 hearing at 1PM in Room A-1 of the Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA. Be sure to sign in to speak.
Senate Chairman James Eldridge
Phone: (617) 722- 1120 or Email: James.Eldridge@masenate.gov
House Chairwoman Claire Cronin
Phone: (617) 722-2396 or Email: Claire.Cronin@mahouse.gov
For more information on these or other legislative issues in Massachusetts, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or MassFed at email@example.com.