New Hawaii law will fine handlers of fake service dogs
HONOLULU (AP) — A bill that targets fake service dogs has become law without Gov. David Ige’s signature.
The bill was neither signed nor vetoed by Ige when it landed on his desk this week, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
That means that starting Jan. 1, handlers of fake service dogs will be fined between $100 and $500.
People can pass their dogs as service animals by going online and ordering a service dog certificate, vest or ID badge with little to no proof of authenticity.
There is no official U.S. registry for service dogs, and service animals are not required to wear special vests, collars or harnesses.
Those factors make the law difficult to enforce.
Another challenge for the law is the limited questions one may ask under the Americans With Disabilities Act, Ige said Thursday.
“None of the county police departments submitted testimony,” said Ige. “However, it appears they would be the primary agencies responsible for enforcement.”
Sen. Russell Ruderman, who introduced the bill, believes the law is still important since there have been cases of fake service animals attacking people and legitimate service animals.
At least 15 other states have similar laws on fake service dogs.
Jim Kennedy, executive director of Hawaii Fi-Do Service Dogs, is optimistic that the law can make a difference.
“It is important to understand and respect what the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) intended when it allowed legitimate service dogs to assist those with real disabilities,” he said.
Hawaii Fi-Do hopes to help by providing education on functions of real service dogs.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com