Friday, February 25, 2011

Washington state bill would narrow definition of service animals

From The Associated Press:

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington's restaurants, bars and grocery stores could refuse access to nearly all nontraditional service animals, under a bill moving through the Legislature.

A bill placed on the House floor calendar Feb. 24 would require food establishments to accommodate only trained dogs and miniature horses assisting disabled customers.

The measure would bring the state in line with the latest federal regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Current state law defines a service animal as any animal trained to aid a disabled person.

Supporters of the bill say it would provide much-needed clarity to employees and patrons of the state's food establishments, while also addressing food safety concerns.

Others say tales of people trying to pass off snakes, full-size horses and ferrets as service animals are mostly myths.