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Missouri lawmaker wants to crack down on 'fake' service animals

epublican Sen. Denny Hoskins, of Warrensburg, said his proposed bill would protect landlords who prohibit pets from tenants who falsely claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. (MGN Online)

Lying about a service animal would be a misdemeanor in Missouri under legislation that was partly inspired by stories of emotional support snakes and a peacock.

The Columbia Missourian reported that Republican Sen. Denny Hoskins, of Warrensburg, said his proposed bill would protect landlords who prohibit pets from tenants who falsely claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. He also said illegitimate service animals could be disruptive to other tenants.

Support animals are protected under the Fair Housing Act. But Hoskins said "it's getting out of control" during a meeting of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday. Opponents, however, raised concerns that the bill could bring legitimate use of animals into question.

Hoskins said 22 states have passed similar laws.

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