State Representative Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) recently spoke in favor of her proposed bill on the floor of the House of Representatives to make intentionally interfering with service dogs a crime.
“This bill will protect disabled individuals who rely on service dogs to accomplish the day-to-day activities that we all take for granted,” said Pavalock-D’Amato on the floor of the House of Representatives, according to a press release. “It’s inconceivable that someone would intentionally harass, distract, or even assault a service dog or their owner, just because they were not allowed to pet that working service animal, but it happens. It’s not acceptable to interfere with someone’s wheelchair, or their walker, and a service dog should be no different.”
The bill, HB 7214, would make it a criminal act to intentionally interfere with a blind, deaf, or mobility impaired person’s use of a guide dog or an assistance dog, including, but not limited to, any action intended to harass the guide or assistance dog. Persons caught in the act would be charged with a class C misdemeanor.
The press release said Pavalock-D’Amato testified earlier this year during the Judiciary committee’s public hearing on the bill. The measure was voted unanimously out of the House of Representatives and awaits further action by the state Senate.