Crackdown on fraudulent emotional support animals

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FLINT (WJRT) (12/20/2017) - They can bring people comfort and can be a way for people to take their dogs almost anywhere.

The state wants to crack down on people faking a need for emotional support animals. Anyone can purchase a support animal vest for about $22.

Professional dog trainers see this as a huge problem because people have already been abusing the system.

A West Michigan senator is looking to fix this issue by requiring owners to have at least six months of documentation from a health care provider showing a disability before their pet can be considered a support animal.

These fraudulent cases are an issue Mid-Michigan Therapy Dogs organization has seen before.

Mid-Michigan Therapy Dogs Assistant Trainer Lisa Beam said this crackdown has been a long time coming. She said people who are abusing the system are ruining it for owners who need their pets with them at all times.

"The people who take dogs out and pass them off and yet they don't behave well -- they don't respond well. They become a menace, and that's problematic,” Beam said.

Anyone caught lying could face 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

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