Over on Marketwatch, we learned about California’s newest emotional support animal legislation, AB-468, which is designed to combat fake service animal registration, and duplicitous mental health care clinicians.
Rising in the strongest support of this new law is ESADoggy Co-Founder Chaz Stevens, who noted, “Googling emotional support animals reveals countless pages of questionable business and therapeutic practices offering products that outrightly deceive consumers, individuals with disabilities, and landlords.”
Excerpts from California’s latest Emotional Support Animal Law.
1) A person or business that sells or provides a dog for use as an emotional support dog must provide written notice – in at least 12-point bold type, on the receipt or a separate paper – to the buyer or recipient of the dog stating that (1) the dog does NOT have the special training required to qualify as a guide, signal, or service dog; (2) the dog is NOT entitled to the rights and privileges accorded by law to a guide, signal, or service dog; and (3) knowingly and fraudulently representing oneself to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed as, to be qualified as, or identified as, a guide, signal, or service dog is a misdemeanor.
2) A person or business that sells or provides a certificate, identification, tag, vest, leash, or harness for an emotional support animal will also be required to provide the same written notice to the buyer or recipient.
3) Violation of these written notice requirements or knowingly and fraudulently representing, selling, or offering for sale, or attempting to represent, sell, or offer for sale, an emotional support dog as being entitled to the rights and privileges accorded by law to a guide, signal, or service dog, is subject to a civil penalty of $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second, and $2,500 for third and subsequent violations.
4) Also, under the new CA law, health care practitioners are prohibited from providing documentation relating to an individual’s need for an emotional support dog unless the health care practitioner (1) holds a valid, active, license to provide professional services within the scope of the license in the jurisdiction where the documentation is provided; (2) establishes a client-provider relationship with the individual for at least 30 days prior to providing the documentation, (3) completes a clinical evaluation of the individual regarding the need for an emotional support dog, and (4) provides notice to the individual that knowingly and fraudulently representing oneself to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed as, to be qualified as, or identified as, a guide, signal, or service dog is a misdemeanor. Violating these requirements subjects the health care practitioner to discipline from the licensing board.