An Arizona man created quite the buzz when he registered his new service animal. David Keller wanted to prove a point that it is too easy for anybody to register their pets as service animals, so he decided to go online and register a swarm of bees as a service animal.
"We go out, and pretty much everywhere we go, we see a fake service animal that's being passed off as a real one," he said.
When he got home, he logged onto USAServicedDogRegistration.com and was able to use a photograph of a beehive and register it as a service animal in just five minutes.
"I wish there were more restrictions on it or something to show that it's real," Keller said.
This creates confusion as many people are unsure of the differences between a service animal and therapy or emotional support animal. While service animals and their owners are protected under the law, therapy animals may not be granted those same protections.
While the registration may be meaningless under the law in Arizona, it can still cause confusion as people try to pass off their pets as trained service animals. Both Arizona and federal law define a service animal as a dog or miniature horse that is trained to perform tasks for a person with disabilities. The law does not require service animals to be registered and states that it is discriminatory to ask the owner for identification to prove the animal is properly trained.
The law does not make exceptions for therapy animals, and any business would be within their rights to ask Keller and his service bees to leave, since they do not meet the legal definition of service animal.
Keller said that his actions have riled up people on both sides of the debate about service and emotional support animals.
“A lot of people thought it was hilarious, and a lot of people were getting upset."