The Oklahoma Senate recently approved a bill that will penalize those who misrepresent a service animal. Senate Bill 1223 was passed with a vote of 34-9 and the bill will now go to the Oklahoma House for further consideration.
AKC supports this bill and condemns the deliberate mischaracterization of service dogs and attempts to benefit from service dog status when the person is not someone with a disability. Oklahoma dog owners are encouraged to contact their State Representative in support of SB 1223. You can find your legislator here.
Oklahoma Senate Bill 1223 would make it a misdemeanor for anyone without a disability or anyone that is not trained to assist those with a disability to misrepresent an animal as a service dog to gain special treatment or benefits. The bill was recommended as do pass from the Senate Public Safety Committee this week and now awaits a vote before the full Oklahoma Senate.
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 places that accommodate these animals expect that when allowing these animals to enter.
AKC Government Relations continue to closely monitor all bills impacting Illinois dog owners. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.