One of the worst things to see, in my opinion, is when people abuse laws that were put in place to help others. In this case, the allowance of service animals is one of those.
Time and time again, I see people abusing this law. The service animal law states, "public accommodations must allow you to be accompanied by your service dog or assistive animal. A service dog is a dog that is specially trained to assist a person with a disability, whether the dog is referred to as a service dog, an independence dog, a support dog, or by any other title."
This means that if you have a service animal, in this case, a dog, no establishment can make you leave, take your dog out, or deny you care, service, or housing, and the animal must be trained and, for most housing, you must have papers.
As of May 2, 2019, the Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, signed into law a bill that makes it a crime to claim any animal as a service animal without proof or if the owner does not have a disability or has not demonstrated a reason for needing a service animal. The new law also requires landlords to allow individuals with a disability to have service animals. It also requires the person to provide proof they are disabled and need the animal.
To go on, denying any person with disabilities in need of a service animal will result in a simple misdemeanor charge. And lying about an animal that is not a service animal will also result in a misdemeanor. I once worked for a community in marketing, and, at one point, as the manager of that community, we had a rule, "no dogs over 30 pounds", with the exception of a service dog. And in that case, you needed to have papers or note from your doctor that said you needed this animal and why.
Disability Rights Iowa opposed this new law, fearing store or restaurant employees may call the police on individuals with service animals but no visible disabilities such as PTSD or diabetes.
Honestly, I think this is a great idea. I was always taught that service animals are supposed to wear a vest that says they are a service animal, so, for DRI to be afraid of people calling the police on people with no visible disabilities I think is a little out there. In my opinion, the law should also require those with service animals to have the service vest on the animal when in public so no one gets confused.
Tell me what you think in the comments below! Is this a good idea or do you have concerns?
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