PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) – A Rhode Island lawmaker is trying to stop people from pretending their pet is a service dog.
Democratic Rep. Thomas Winfield said pet owners are increasingly putting vests on their dogs to bring them into restaurants and other places service dogs can go.
Winfield said Friday he has introduced a bill to prohibit dressing pets as service dogs to attain privileges provided to disabled people by federal law.
He introduced the legislation at the request of the restaurant and hospitality industry.
Winfield says restaurant and hotel owners often grapple with pet owners who try to skirt health codes that ban animals by claiming their pet is a service dog.
If it becomes law, violators could be fined and required to perform community service.
Winfield says he wants to protect legitimate service animals.