AUGUSTA — Those who try to pass off pets as service animals in Maine now face a $1,000 fine under a new law.

The Maine Human Rights Commission says many people in the disability community are unaware of the changes, which include a new category called assistance animals. Such animals are either trained or determined to be necessary to provide comfort and support to people with physical or mental disabilities.

Service animals, in contrast, are dogs trained to do specific tasks like pulling a wheelchair or guiding individuals who are totally or partially blind.

The law says that people with disabilities are entitled to have the help of a service animal in public places.

When it comes to housing, people with disabilities have the right to a service animal or assistance animal.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.