Arizona law defining 'service animals' goes into effect Friday


Arizona law defining 'service animals' goes into effect Friday


Story by: Reporter/Meteorologist Tim Lavigne

YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) – Hundreds of new laws go into effect in Arizona this Friday.

One of them limits the definition of service animals to include only dogs and miniature horses.

That means, if you or someone you care about has to rely on these animals for special needs—this new law could be a law of unintended consequences for you.

The new law defines service animals as those that perform a specific measurable task, like pulling a wheelchair or helping a blind person get around.

The law says nothing about the other things these animals do for people, such as healing broken hearts.

But when it comes to knowing what these special animals can do, Ron Heitz knows what he is talking about first-hand.

His 19-year-old son Austin has partial brain damage, cerebral palsy and autism.

Austin has been riding therapeutic horses since he was four.

Up until now, there has been little debate about this new law.

It is too early to say what kind of impact this new law is going to have on service animals that don't fit the state's new definition.

But, like any other law, if there's enough of a pushback, lawmakers may have to reconsider.

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