[NFBMO] Bills possibly affecting dog users pass Missouri House, headed for Senate

Daniel Garcia dangarcia3 at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 20 02:23:30 UTC 2018

The following is from the Capitol Connections Newsletter sent out by Representative Kevin Corlew. Do we need to worry about this?

"House Moves to Protect and Expand the Use of Service Animals (HB 1369 and HB 2031)
House members approved two pieces of legislation last week related to the use of service dogs in Missouri. One would expand the state's legal definition of what qualifies as a "service dog." The other would make it illegal to misrepresent an animal as a service animal.
The bills are aimed at making life better for those who legitimately have service dogs and service animals.  These individuals represent a growing segment of society, and the list of conditions dogs can help with continues to grow as well.
HB 1369 changes the definition of "service dog" to include psychiatric service dogs and mental health service dogs. The definition covers dogs that serve individuals with conditions including panic attacks, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The sponsor said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has left the definition of what is considered a "service dog" in a gray area, so HB 1369 would make clear what animals qualify as service dogs.
HB 2031 would add the crime of misrepresenting a dog or animal as a service dog or assistance animal to Missouri's existing law against impersonating a person with a disability. It would make those crimes misdemeanors punishable by up to fifteen days in jail, or up to 6 months for repeated violations.
When people fake having a service animal, it casts doubt on individuals who really do have them. The sponsor said such fraud causes other issues as well, and noted that untrained dogs have attacked service dogs in training, or attacked patrons in a restaurant.

HB 2031 would require the Commission on Human Rights to use its existing complaint hotline to take reports of individuals believed to be faking having a disability or a service animal.

It would also require the Governor's Council on Disability to design a placard that restaurants and other businesses could display stating that service dogs are welcome and that misrepresentation of a service dog is illegal.  A brochure would also be created to help business owners know what questions are allowed and guidelines on how to behave around service animals.
Both bills have now moved to the Senate for consideration."


Daniel Garcia

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