Iowa Senate Bill would make fake service dogs a crime - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Senate Bill would make fake service dogs a crime

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Faking it could cost you jail time. A bill that just passed says if an Iowan claims an animal is a service dog when it's really not that person could wind up in the slammer.

Under Senate File 2365, Iowans could be charged with a simple misdemeanor if they intentionally misrepresent an animal as a service dog.

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act the State of Iowa does not require service dogs to wear a vest or any type of ID, which makes it difficult to determine if a dog is really a service animal.

It takes countless hours to train a service dog and believe it or not there are people who lie about their dog's qualifications.

"It's frustrating to everyone that is in the situation when being in the public with a dog that is not a service dog put off as it is a service dog, right?" Scott Dewey, Retrieving Freedom Co-President. "If they are not they should pay a penalty there's no question."

A new bill, now moving to the House cracks down on service dog fraud. Dewey is in favor of the measure.

"I think it's a step in the right direction for everybody that's involved," said Dewey. "Being in public with a dog that's not a service dog can be very detrimental to those that have gone through the process and have done it correctly."

Dewey says the drawback may be some uncomfortable challenges for the public. 

"We can not be putting people with disabilities in the position of explaining their service dog, they are going to have to go through ways to figure out is this a service dog or isn't it a service dog," said Dewey.

He says the importance of a service dog is evident and should not be faked.

"A dog helps in it's own way just being a dog, but there's still a huge difference between a great loving gentile dog and a service dog," said Dewey.

According to the Des Moines Register veterans reported that their service dogs have been attacked by untrained dogs while out in public. That is one reason veterans stepped forward asking lawmakers for help in crafting the bill.

Anyone found guilty of fraud in this manner, can face 30 days in jail, a fine, or possibly both.

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