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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Councilman Mike Fagan targets ‘impostor’ service animals with public forums

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 14, 2017

FILE – Carl Bessent walks with his guide dog Nerice through Coeur d'Alene on Monday, September 14, 2015. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – Carl Bessent walks with his guide dog Nerice through Coeur d'Alene on Monday, September 14, 2015. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

“Impostor” service animals are a growing problem. On the internet, pet owners can easily obtain phony certificates, patches and vests – even psychiatrists’ prescriptions – for the freedom to bring their weasels, snakes or poodles into the grocery store.

That’s a problem not only for businesses where animals are prohibited, but also for people with disabilities who depend on real service animals in their everyday lives.

Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan said Spokane may need a policy that would keep impostor service animals out of businesses and other places where they can be a nuisance.

“We have a pretty large service dog population in this county,” he said.

Fagan said state and federal laws and regulations are too broad and make it difficult to separate untrained frauds from legitimate service animals. He’ll host a series of public forums in February and March to discuss a potential city ordinance:

  • Friday, Feb. 17, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. to noon at the Hillyard Senior Center, 4001 N. Cook St.
  • Friday, Mar. 17, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St.
  • Friday, Mar. 24, 11 a.m. to noon at the South Side Senior Center, 3151 E. 27 Ave.

Contact the writer:

(509) 459-5047

chadso@spokesman.com

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