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FILE - This Feb. 18, 2014 shows Lexy, a therapy dog at Fort Bragg, N.C. A study released on Monday, June 17, 2019 suggests that over thousands of years of dog domestication, people preferred dogs that could pull off the ”puppy dog
FILE - This Feb. 18, 2014 shows Lexy, a therapy dog at Fort Bragg, N.C. A study released on Monday, June 17, 2019 suggests that over thousands of years of dog domestication, people preferred dogs that could pull off the ”puppy dog" eyes look. And that encouraged the evolution of the facial muscle behind it, researchers propose. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz, File)

Florida bill targets ‘phoney baloney’ use of support animals

The state’s Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit Florida landlords from disallowing medically approved emotional support animals.

Landlords could ask people with emotional support animals whose disabilities are not apparent to document the need.

Health care professionals who certify the need for the animals would have to have personal knowledge of the renter’s disability. People wouldn’t be able to simply download a certification of need from a website.

Democratic Sen. Kevin Rader of Boca Raton said he often hears complaints from condominium residents about people falsely claiming their pet is an emotional support animal, saying people are “getting phony-baloney psychological papers saying they’re allowed to have animals in their communities.”

He said he doesn’t want to take away anything from people with a legitimate need but said there’s a lot of abuse.

“You can go online right now and for … less than $100 get a certificate for an emotional support animal,” he said.

People who falsely or fraudulently claim the need for an emotional support animal could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

A similar House bill is awaiting a full chamber vote.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Author: CBS LOCAL MIAMI
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