City considering ordinance to curb “misrepresentation” of service animals

City considering ordinance to curb “misrepresentation” of service animals

The Spokane City Council will consider an ordinance that would set limits and guidelines to prevent the misrepresentation of animals as service animals.

The ordinance, proposed by council member Mike Fagan, is scheduled for a first reading Monday night.

The ordinance would follow the lead of the Washington legislature, which recently amended state law regarding the subject. It would “provide for a class 3 civil infraction with escalating penalties for repeat misrepresentations of an animal as a service animal.”

Under the ordinance, a person misrepresents a service animal if the person represents the animal as a service animal in order to secure rights or privileges associated with service animals, or if the person knew or should have known the animal didn’t meet the definition.

It gives law enforcement officers the right to enforce with a civil infraction. Specifically, it says the law enforcement officer can’t ask a person about their disability, but can ask if the animal is required because of the disability and what work or task the animal has been asked to perform.

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