New Hawaii law targets bogus service animals

HONOLULU — A new Hawaii law making it a crime to falsely present an animal as a service animal is about to go into effect.

Starting Jan. 1, misrepresenting a service animal will carry fines ranging from $100 to $500.

Some service animal supporters say the measure is needed to protect those who actually have disabilities, but critics say it will be too hard to enforce.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the state senator who introduced the bill says it will largely serve as a deterrent. Sen. Russell Ruderman of Puna likens it to a littering law.

Hawaii News Now reports at least 21 states have passed laws governing service animals in an attempt to keep unruly pets out of places such as grocery stores, movie theaters and restaurants.

  1. harry oyama December 31, 2018 8:48 am Reply

    I’ve seen my share of BS “service” dogs, some even with official looking collar cloth you can order from E-bay. One even was trying to pass a little Chiwaowa as a service dog so the owner can bring it into stores and movie places.

    I’ve even seen one person’s “service” dog trying to bite a kid in Walmart! Yeah, these fakers should be fined

  2. Paula December 31, 2018 11:17 am Reply

    I heartily agree with Harry! Service animals are valuable interventions for those who truly need them and are trained to act properly in public places. ESAs are not really service animals either and the concept is being abused and forced down the throats of those who choose not to be around them. Everyone deserves a choice.

  3. Suzan Kelsey Brooks January 2, 2019 8:28 am Reply

    There are “service dogs”–highly trained and difficult to obtain–“therapy dogs” (brought to patients, nursing homes, and other sites), and “support” animals (who can be so-labeled with little or no regard to their training or necessity. I have no objection to a true “service dog” going anywhere and believe their classification can be determined without an undue chilling effect on those for whom they’ve been prescribed. I do object to riding on a long flight with someone’s pet, slipped under the radar as a “service animal” with a note from their dermatologist or via a vest obtained on the internet. Last year, we were on an overnight flight from Kauai to the mainland. A very large pitbull was sitting right by the door. Everyone–including toddlers dragging blankets–had to walk past him to get on the plane. What would have happened if he’d become agitated during the flight, or “merely” had to urinate or defecate? There are means of transporting animals that do not have a “chilling effect” on the comfort, peace of mind, sanitary needs, and safety of human passengers.

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