ORLANDO, Florida – A bill introduced by Florida Representative Bruce Antone (D-Orlando) would ban nonservice pets from restaurants and retail stores in the Sunshine State.
“In order to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the public, nonservice animals are prohibited from traveling through or remaining in indoor portions of a public food service establishment or place of business,” the bill (HB 243) states.
Under the proposed Florida law, nonservice animals would be prohibited from retail establishments, food outlets, restaurants, bars, lounges, or “any other similar place of business in which the public assembles.”
Affected businesses would be required to post a sign at every entrance stating that nonservice animals are prohibited.
The bill also requires the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to adopt rules and create and maintain a website for public complaints.
Penalties For Faking A Service Animal
The bill also provides for civil and criminal penalties for anyone who misrepresents a nonservice animal as a service animal to anyone that operates the restaurant, bar, or retail store.
Upon a first offense, the offender would be issued a warning.
A second offense would result in a $100 fine.
Any third or subsequent offenses would be considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
Does Not Supersede Local Law
The proposed law would not supersede any local ordinance or regulation passed by a county, municipality, or other local governmental authority.