Gov. Dayton signs bill making it illegal to misrepresent service animals

From peacocks to bunny rabbits, questionable service animals have made headlines this year. Passing your pet as a service animal is now illegal in Minnesota. 

Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law Thursday. The bill will make it a petty misdemeanor on the first offense and a misdemeanor on the second offense for anyone misrepresenting their pet as a service animal. 

Lawmakers said the bill was created to protect the disabled community with real service animals. Misrepresenting a pet as a service animal is not a victimless crime—it negatively impacts those with a disability and a real service animal. 

State and federal laws define service animals as dogs—and occasionally miniature horses—that have been specially trained to help someone with a disability.

The new law will go into effect on August 1.