Florida lawmakers seek harder rules to prevent fake emotional support animals

By Stacy Shanks - Social Media Producer
Copyright (c) 2019 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Florida lawmakers are ready to end fake emotional support animals with a new bill being proposed.

The bill will tighten the reins for people trying to get their pets certified as emotional support animals. 

Sometimes people say their pet is an emotional support animal to get around rules like paying pet deposits or to live in places that don’t usually allow pets, said senator Manny Diaz, who is sponsoring the bill, according to WPTV

According to the bill, “emotional support animal means an animal that does not require training to do specific work or perform special tasks for an individual with a disability but, by virtue of its presence, provides support to alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of an individual’s disability.”

Lawmakers want Senate Bill 1128 to require emotional support animal certifications to be done by a real doctor that already sees the person as a patient. 

Pet owners are abusing the system by using a doctor online who they haven’t seen in person, state Sen. Kevin Rader, D-Boca Raton, told the Sun Sentinel.

The bill goes on to state that anyone who falsifies documents for emotional support animals would face a second-degree misdemeanor.

The bill passed the first committee on March 11 and has two more committees before reaching the Senate floor.
 

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