- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2019

A new Alabama law that aims to prevent people from falsely identifying their dogs as service animals is slated to go into effect on September 1.

The new law would subject a person to a $100 fine and 100 hours of community service if found to be misidentifying their dog.

But the new law doesn’t go far enough, says Frances McGowin, the executive director of Service Dogs Alabama, who notes as it’s against federal law to ask for medical documentation for either the owner or dog.

“They don’t know if a dog walking into your business with a vest on is truly a service dog that is saving that person’s life, or if this is someone’s pet and they bought a vest online,” Ms. McGowin said, according to WTVY.

While citizens are protected from having to disclose their disability, state and federal law allows people to be asked whether an animal is a service animal and if so what tasks it can complete.

Ms. McGowin is calling for additional measures to benefit patients who require the use of service animals, such a federal standard for IDs for service animals.

“There needs to be some kind of a regulatory system in place for people that need service dogs so they have legitimate ID cards that are recognized by the federal government,” she said.

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