SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ – If you want to take your dog for a walk on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, you’re going to have to wait until the season’s over.
As of March 22nd. Borough Code Ch. 33-11 provides for a minimum fine of $100 (with a maximum fine of $1,250). Got a service dog? Get ready to show police officers proof.
“All claims that a dog is a service animal will be challenged by trained code enforcement officers as permitted by the Americans With Disabilities Act,” the borough said. “Very few dogs are bona fide service animals. Comfort dogs, emotional support dogs, and therapy dogs are not bona fide service animals.”
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According to Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz, in New Jersey, you can be fined from $100 to $500 for putting your dog in a guide dog harness to falsely pass it off as a guide dog.
“For people with disabilities, specially trained service animals play an absolutely vital role. They make it possible for those with disabilities to work, travel, stay safe, and, in some cases, stay alive,” Vaz said in a statement today. “By falsely claiming that your pet is a service animal in order to, for example, bring it into a restaurant with you or take it on the bus, you are not only inconveniencing others who have to put up with your animal.”
Vaz said false service dog claims are not a victimless crime.
“You are poisoning attitudes towards true service animals, and leading bystanders and proprietors to believe others may be faking it,” he said. “In addition, if you enter a facility where an actual service animal is working, your untrained animal may jeopardize the safety of the service animal and its handler. And, you may also be breaking the law. Leave your pet at home, and allow true service animals to do their jobs.”