DENVER, April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Intentional Misrepresentation of a Service Animal could soon be a crime if HB 16-1308 continues its passage through Colorado's General Assembly.
The bill makes it an offense to bring "an animal into a place that it would otherwise not be allowed to enter by passing off a pet, therapy animal, or emotional support animal as a service animal."
Director of Legal Services Alison Daniels notes that: "Disability Law Colorado (www.disabilitylawco.org) was founded in 1976 to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Over four decades we've seen the difference that animals can make in a person's life. That's why we need education on the law rather than criminalizing behavior by people that don't understand it."
Daniels' concern is for the people with disabilities who simply misunderstand the law. She asks:
"Should a person who relies on the help of an 'assistance animal' be charged for putting it in a vest and taking it into a restaurant? Wouldn't education on this complex issue make more sense?"
You can stop this bill from turning people with disabilities into criminals:
- Testify in person on Monday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the Legislative Services Building, 200 East 14th Avenue (across from the Capitol). HB 16-1308 is the 3rd bill up for hearing.
- Send your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (303) 722-0300.
- Contact your legislator (you can find your legislators by typing in your address at www.openstates.org) and/or send your concerns to Conrad Imel, staff contact for the Senate Judiciary Committee, at email@example.com.
There are four classifications of animals under current disability rights law:
1. Service Animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as a dog (or miniature horse) that has been trained to perform a specific task. Business owners can ask two questions: (1) Is the dog required because of your disability? and (2) What task does it perform? Service animals are allowed in any business open to the public.
Daniels wants business to rest assured that "Service kangaroos or service parrots are not covered by the ADA and can be turned away. Even a qualified service animal can be excluded if it is causing a nuisance."
2. Assistance, companion and emotional support animals are ONLY required to be allowed in the homes of people with disabilities. Housing providers can ask for medical documentation of the disability and need for the animal, but they cannot charge "pet rent."
3. Therapy animals help people with disabilities in hospitals and other facilities. Unless the person who owns the therapy animal also has a disability-related need, they are not required to be allowed in housing.
4. Pets do not have to be allowed in public accommodations or housing.
Disability Law Colorado (DLC) is a nonprofit organization established to protect and promote the legal and human rights of persons with disabilities. Learn more about our work and position on HB 16-1308 at www.disabilitylawco.org.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/disability-law-colorado-comments-on-hb-16-1308-300248137.html
SOURCE Disability Law Colorado