New legislation will start being enforced on Monday, Jan. 18 to crack down on people with fake guide or service dogs, and protect those with real ones.
The Guide Dog and Service Dog Certification Act includes:
- Training standards for guide and service dogs.
- Identification cards.
- Higher fines and violation tickets for those who refuse service or a place to live to someone with a guide or service dog.
Retiring guide dogs will also be able to get certification so handlers can continue living with them.
"It's a very common sense act that's going to benefit not only our industry as it exists today but also it's going to benefit other members of the community, who before may not have [had] an opportunity to get a dog certified," said Bill Thornton with B.C. Guide Dogs.
Dogs not certified through an accredited institution can be tested for certification.
The legislation also means there will be harsher penalties for those who fraudulently use guide dog vests. The new maximum penalty has been increased to $2,000 from $200.