Iowa Senate passes bill outlawing fake service dogs

Iowa Senate passes bill outlawing fake service dogs
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Iowans could face jail time if they lie about having a service dog under a new bill passed by the Iowa Senate on Wednesday. 

The bill was introduced in response to veterans who came forward with concerns after their highly trained service dogs, meant to help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), were attacked in public by untrained companion animals, according to the Des Moines Register. 

Dogs go through rigorous training to assist with PTSD, blindness, epilepsy and other types of disabilities. 

People were buying dog harnesses and fake certificates online so their untrained dogs could pass as qualified service animals or service-animals-in-training in order to get certain privileges, the Register reported. 

The new bill, passed 49-0 in the state Senate, would find that deception a simple misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine, according to the newspaper.

The bill will now head the Iowa House.

The Iowa attorney general’s office is also reportedly hoping to create a form with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to help health-care providers determine whether a disability requires a companion animal.