Proposed changes to Florida’s service dog laws
Unfortunately the 2011-2012 session of the Florida House of Representatives did not get to vote on the proposed changes to Florida’s service dog laws which would benefit many service dog handlers who, under the current law, technically do not qualify. Most of the law was completely re-written which will make it up to date with current ADA regulations.
The proposed changes added in psychological and neurological disabilities (not defined before) which can include (but not limited to) PTSD. We have a lot of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and this wording needs to be included.
They also added that documentation that a service animal is NOT required. This is stated by the ADA guidelines but is being added into the Florida law.
Another important addition is that they added in wording for service dog trainers (which is in the current version of the bill but can be considered vague) as well as poppy raisers.
This bill also makes it illegal to “fake” a service dog and can be a misdemeanor of the second degree (as defined in sections 775.082 or 775.083.
What you can do:
First, download and read the revisions. You can view it from the MyFloridaHouse.gov website. Click on Bill Text and either view it as a webpage or PDF. At this time the most current version of the bill is S 1382 e1 (dated March 9, 2012 at 4:42PM). You can download the PDF and print it (you need Adobe’s Acrobat Reader to view the document, it is a free download – uncheck the McAffee software so you do not have any add-on software loaded).
Next, find out who your state representatives are in Tallahassee. You can do this at MyFloridaHouse.gov and use their contact form to tell them how you feel about the bill and it should be brought up for a vote early in the session.