Bill targeting false service animals introduced in Hawaii

Updated: Feb. 21, 2018 at 5:00 AM HST
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HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers have introduced a law that would make it a crime to falsely present an animal as a service animal.

The law introduced in January would make the act of falsely claiming an animal to be a service animal a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail or up to $1,000 for the first offense.

Democrat state Sen. Russell Ruderman of Puna sponsored the bill. He says it's intended to prevent people from abusing the system and bringing untrained pets into public places, which can lead to owners of legitimate service animals being treated with suspicion.

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

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