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Senate passes bill to prevent false claims from tenants needing service animals

Emotional support animal bill progresses
Posted at 10:48 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 22:49:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida is now cracking down on the fraudulent claims of people needing emotional support animals.

The Florida Senate passed a bill prohibiting landlords from discriminating against people needing emotional support animals. The measure would require tenants to provide proper documentation indicating a need for the animal.

“If their disability related need is not really apparent the housing provider could then ask for documentation to verify the need for that animal in housing,” said Amanda Gill of The Florida Apartment Association.

There have been many false claims regarding the need for service animals.

Karen Morris has four emotional support chickens and has a word for people who have taken advantage of the therapy.

“Enough is enough, we have lamas, we have parrots, we have elephants, we have monkeys, we’ve have everything on the Ark is now an emotional support animal…cut the crap,” said Morris.

The Florida apartment association says it isn’t uncommon for people to try to work their way around the rules using false documentation from online sites.

“People are using this fraudulent Emotional Support Animal documentation to get around some of those restrictions or to get around paying a pet fee,” said Gill.

Morris says its time the state of Florida acknowledges people with real needs for emotional support animals, and punish those who abuse the system.

“If you are lying to people and you get caught at it you are going to have to pay the consequence for it, ” said Karen Morris.

Those caught violating policy could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The bill still needs approval from the house, if passed the law will take effect on July 1st.