More and more people with disabilities need service animals to assist them. However, some people call their companion animals or ESA pets — “service animals.” But that’s not true.
Service animals are individually trained dogs that can do different tasks. People need them when they cannot perform those tasks for themselves.
The most popular type of service animal is guide dogs. They provide assistance to people who are blind.
Commonly, people violate this rule when they want to go to a “no-pet” public place with their dog or cat. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects humans with disabilities and requires different types of businesses to allow service animals in “no-pet” places.
However, any emotional support dog or cat is not considered a service or assistance animal. And some states have published laws that described various violations according to service animals. The most severe penalty is the prison. You can learn more about other pitfalls of an ESA Pet letter for housing in another article on Fitbark.
Check the laws in your state. Here is a table that compares service dog fraud law.
The article and its information do not and are not intended to be a piece of legal advice; instead, all content, information, and materials available in the article are for general informational purposes only. Information in the article may be incorrect and not have up-to-date legal or other information. That is why it is always better to double-check statements.
If a person knowingly misrepresents as a person who needs a service animal, they are considered guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. He/she will pay fines and penalties and work 100 hours in a community service that serves people with disabilities.
A second time if a person is convicted, they should pay a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).
If a person misrepresents a dog or ESA pet as a service animal, they will get a civil penalty of around $250 for each violation.
This state doesn’t allow individuals to misrepresent an animal as a service animal or a service animal-in-training to use “no-pet” public accommodation. If a person violates it, they will get a civil penalty not to exceed $250 every time.
Any individual who fraudulently represents a disabled person and is an owner of a service animal via verbal or written notice will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for six months and/or face a fine of $1,000.
A person who misrepresents an animal or ESA pet as a service animal to use any privileges or rights, or a person who knows that the animal in question is not a service animal or service-animal-on-training, then the penalties are as follows:
-a first time: $25
-a second time: $50-$250
-a third time: $100-$500
Also, you can find how to register an emotional support animal in Colorado.
Any individual who misrepresents their animals as a service animals by using verbal or written notice commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. They must perform thirty hours of community service for individuals with disabilities or at any organization of the court’s discretion.
For violation of service dog fraud law in Hawaii will be a fine of $100— $250 for the first time. If a person is caught again, the penalty will be at least $500.
This state also has a law protecting people with disabilities and their rights. So, if a person lies about their needs as a disabled person and uses an assistance dog, they will be considered guilty of a misdemeanor.
According to this state law, service dog fraud is considered a simple misdemeanor.
The state considers service dog fraud as a class A nonperson misdemeanor.
This type of law in Maine is considered a civil violation. The fine for this type of violation will be no more than $1,000 for each occurrence.
In Michigan, a service dog fraud violation has three types of punishment:
– go to jail for not more than 90 days
– a fine of $500.00
– 30 days of community service
Since 2016 there has been a special telephone hotline where somebody can complain about a person who violates a service animal law.
If the person misrepresents an animal or ESA pet as a service in any public place, it will be considered a petty misdemeanor. For the second time, it will be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.
Any person who impersonates an individual with a disability to use service animal rights will be considered guilty of a class C misdemeanor and liable for any damages.
It will be considered a violation of class B for the second time.
This state, for such type of violation, has punishments as follows:
– for a first offense, the fine will be $50
– for a second offense, the fine will be at least $75 to $200
– for a third time, the fine will be $100 — $1,000
Sometimes the monetary penalty is waived if working on community service for a person with disabilities.
This state considers using a white cane or guide dogs unlawful if the person is not blind. The violation will be regarded as a Class III misdemeanor.
For unlawfully using an animal as a guide or a service dog, an individual will be guilty of a misdemeanor and will pay a fine of not more than $500.
There are no rights to use a service animal’s symbols: a collar, leash, vest, sign, or harness for common pets. The offender in this case will be considered guilty of a misdemeanor.
There is no possibility of using the harness of a blind person’s service dog to represent your dog as an assistance animal in New Jersey. The fine for this violation will be $100—$500
This state considers a violation of service animal fraud a misdemeanor.
NY state considers it a violation to use any false or
inappropriate identification tag, unique identification tag for classifying guide, service, or hearing dogs, if a dog is not.
If somebody uses an animal or ESA pet as a service animal – it is unlawful and considered a Class 3 misdemeanor.
If an individual knowingly tells that a pet is a service animal to use privileges in a public place, they will be considered guilty of an infraction.
If a person knowingly lies about having a disability and uses a pet as a service animal, it will be considered a misdemeanor of the third degree.
Suppose a person creates a document misrepresenting an animal as an assistance or service animal for use in housing rights or uses any “proof” of a service animal. In that case, the fine will be up to $1,000. Also, you can read about emotional support animal laws in PA at emotionalsupport.pet website.
Such violations are considered civil violations and punishable by 30 hours of work for a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities.
For violations of service animals fraud, a person will be fined as follows:
– a first time: $250
– a second time: $500
– a third time: $1,000
Here misrepresentation rules apply to support animals too.
If a person provides documentation to a landlord that falsely states an animal is a service animal or support animal, it will be considered a Class B misdemeanor.
For misrepresenting service animals, it will be the offence is punishable by:
– a fine of up to $300
– 30 hours of community service working for a nonprofit or government organization
Here the offender is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if they:
– falsely tell another person that their pet is a service animal
– misrepresent a material fact to a health care professional to get proof that the dog is an assistance animal.
This state does not allow people who have a common pet to use material proof for service animals. Such an offense will be considered a Class 4 misdemeanor.
In WA it will be considered a violation as being guilty of a misdemeanor.
A person who lies that an animal or ESA pet is a service animal will be guilty of a misdemeanor and get a fine of up to $200, detained in jail for ten days, or fined and imprisoned.
This state has a fine of not more than $750.00 for the lie that an animal is an assistance or service animal.
Be careful! An ESA Pet letter does NOT authorize you to call your pet a “service animal.” The punishment for such type of mistake can be severe.