Alabama residents who falsely claim their pets are service animals will face criminal charges under a new law set to take effect next month.
The law, that goes into effect on September 1, 2019, penalizes people who misrepresent a pet as a service animal in public spaces, or when seeking housing accommodations.
Such false claims would fall into the category of Class C misdemeanor, resulting in a $100 fine and up to 100 hours of community service.
The law further limits service animals to either dogs or miniature horses. The animals must be trained to perform a specific task that benefits a person with disabilities.
Under the law, a dog trained to help someone with visual impairments or with post-traumatic stress disorder would be allowed, but an animal that provides emotional support simply by being with someone would not.
Alabama joins Florida as the only states in the southeast U.S. that has this law.