Oldenburg, In. — Over the last few years, I have received numerous constituent complaints regarding emotional support and service animal fraud. For example, airline passengers have tried to bring pets onto flights without paying fees, and tenants have taken advantage of apartment owners to get by no-pet policies.Recently, in Indiana, an apartment owner told me a tenant brought 2 cats and 10 rats to their apartment complex, stating they were needed for emotional support.After looking into the problem, I found these animals are largely regulated by the federal government. Service animals are regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, emotional support animals are regulated by the Fair Housing Act, and animals on airlines are regulated by the Air Carrier Access Act.To begin addressing this issue at the state level, I focused on emotional support animal fraud. During the 2018 session, I authored Senate Enrolled Act 240, which allows individuals offering to rent or make available a dwelling to those with emotional support animals to request written proof of their need for the animal from a health service provider if their disability is not apparent.The bill also makes it a Class A infraction if an individual submits a request for an emotional support animal that falsely suggests they have a disability, entitling them to have the animal in a dwelling.Sally Irvin, the founder and program director of the Indiana Canine Assistant Network, supported my legislation, saying it will help assure the welfare of the public, people with disabilities and even their animals are protected.Gov. Eric Holcomb recently signed SEA 240 into law. While this bill is a step in the right direction, passing other legislation may be difficult because of federal regulation. However, I will continue to look into the issue to see what else can be done at the state level.For more information on the legislation, click here.