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A 2018 Arizona law allows for a fine of up to $250 per offense for fraudulently misrepresenting an animal as a service animal to a person or entity that operates a public place.
As a society, we have been supportive of individuals who suffer from impairments and disabilities and who need a legitimate service animal for assistance. However, the recent trend of people bringing fake service animals into restaurants, stores and offices has made all such “service animals” suspect in the minds of many. In some cases, there has been a backlash against the owner of a legitimate service animal because people perceive such animals as a sham. The fake service animals have therefore had a negative effect on people who truly need them.
In 2018, the Arizona legislature responded to this problem by passing a law that allows a court or hearing officer to fine a person up to $250 per offense for fraudulently misrepresenting an animal as a service animal, or a service animal in training, to a person or entity that operates a public place.
If you have public places on your business property, such as a retail establishment, an office open to the public, the accompanying parking areas, walkways and restrooms, then this law may be of interest to you. This law may also apply to public areas within homeowners’ associations. If you have encountered problems with potentially fraudulent service animals, you may want to post a sign in your public areas, such as the following:
Any person fraudulently misrepresenting an animal as a service animal, or a service animal in training, to a person or entity that operates a public place may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 per offense.