Local Lawmaker’s Bill Targets Fake Support Animals

Posted On February 09, 2018

By Mike Perleberg

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana lawmakers are looking to help landlords crack down on fake service animals.

State Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) this week pushed ahead with her legislation that would make sure support animals are only for people who need them. The bill passed the Senate Tuesday on a 38-10 vote.

The head of the Indiana Canine Assistance Network says the legislation is needed, citing news stories about people claiming animals ranging from peacocks, snakes, and hedgehogs are their support animals. Leising says her plan would create some uniform regulations for what qualifies an animal as a support animal in Indiana.

“Emotional support animals are well-disciplined, important assistants to people with disabilities, but far too many people are claiming their pets are emotional support animals so they can live in a building that doesn’t allow animals,” Leising said. “These pets can be a nuisance to other residents and cause damage to the establishment. We need to reserve these rights for real emotional support animals and protect the integrity of those who truly need the animals’ assistance.”

Those violating the law would be committing a Class A infraction in cases where they falsely suggest they have a disability, entitling them to have an animal in a rented house or apartment.

With its passage out of the Senate, Senate Bill 240 now heads to the House of Representatives.