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Arizona has had enough of people passing off their pets as “service animals”.

Later this summer it will be illegal to pass off a pet as a “service animal”; violators will be fined $250 PER OCCURRENCE.  House Bill 2588

The new Arizona law “A PERSON MAY NOT FRAUDULENTLY MISREPRESENT AN ANIMAL AS A SERVICE ANIMAL OR SERVICE ANIMAL IN TRAINING TO A PERSON OR ENTITY THAT OPERATES A PUBLIC PLACE. A COURT OR DULY APPOINTED HEARING OFFICER MAY IMPOSE ON THE PERSON MISREPRESENTING THE ANIMAL IN VIOLATION OF THIS SUBSECTION A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS FOR EACH VIOLATION.”

Business owners already have the right to ask someone to leave if his or her pet is causing a disruption and are permitted to ask for the purpose of the animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A local Prescott McDonald's implemented a sign - leave dog outside

A local Prescott McDonald’s implemented a sign asking pet owners not to lie about whether their pet is a service animal or not. (Photo: Kyle Peterson)

In my opinion this situation has become an epidemic.  You cannot go into a store, movie house or restaurant without seeing someone carting around a little dog with a “service dog” vest.  Really – who are they kidding??

Do you really want to use a grocery cart that previously held a pet which could now be laced with fleas, feces or urine.  Do you really want that junk on the food in your grocery cart?  How about those who are allergic to animals?  They have no idea that the grocery cart handles are ripe with pet leftovers and don’t understand why they are going into a sneezing fit or, worse anaphylactic shock from a serious allergy to pet dander?

Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with real service dogs.  They are responsible for helping our most vulnerable.  My family and friends will tell you that I LOVE animals.  Animals have been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  But, I don’t want animals in the grocery store, certainly not in my grocery cart, nor in a restaurant where I am eating and not in a movie.  Please leave your pets at home where they are comfortable and safe.

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Diane L. Drain

Attorney, consumer advocate and retired law professor

About Diane Drain:

Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.

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