Governor signs bill to penalize people for lying about service animals

By  | 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law a bill that makes it a crime to claim a pet is a service animal if the animal owner doesn't have a disability and hasn't demonstrated a need for a service animal.

The new law also requires landlords to allow individuals with a disability to have service animals but it also requires the person to provide proof they are disabled and need the animal.

Denying a disabled person an animal is a simple misdemeanor but a person intentionally lying that their animal is a service animal when it isn't also is a misdemeanor.

The bill also alleviates any liability for property owners for injury or damage caused by a service animal. It was supported by the groups representing grocers, restaurants, retailers and landlords.

Disability Rights Iowa opposed it fearing store or restaurant employees may call the police on individuals with service animals but no visible disabilities such as those with post-traumatic stress disorder or diabetes.