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AOC_BODRuthComp_318w.JPGIt turns out not every guide dog you see on the street is actually helping a blind person. A growing number of individuals are dressing up their pets in fake gear to bring them where animals are normally prohibited, causing a headache for the disabled and businesses alike.

The Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development has scheduled an informational hearing for 11 a.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol to address the problem of service dog fraud. Though misrepresenting a pet as a service animal is already a misdemeanor in California, the hearing aims to educate the public and determine whether any policy changes are necessary, the committee office said.

The panel will hear from the disabled community, guide dog trainers and representatives as well as from the restaurant, retail and lodging industries. Among the concerns to discuss: untrained fake service dogs can become a nuisance, but businesses are not allowed to require proof of a service animal's legitimacy.

VIDEO: With the governor playing it safe in an election year, Democrats' legislative wish list will have to wait, Dan Walters says.

CHP FUNERAL: Gov. Jerry Brown is in Fresno today for the funeral of two California Highway Patrol officers who were killed last week after their squad car flipped over while swerving to avoid a pedestrian. Officers Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez will be honored at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State University at 10 a.m.

MANY TONGUES: The Judicial Council of California meets in San Francisco today to begin discussions on expanding language access in the judiciary for limited English speakers. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told The Bee in December that one of her priorities for 2014 is ensuring interpretative assistance for the more than 200 languages and dialects spoken daily in California courts.

PICTURE THIS: The Senate Panoramic Floor Photograph, a sort of class picture for the session, was originally scheduled to be taken today, but it was abruptly cancelled on Friday, the same day authorities announced that Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, had been indicted on corruption charges. The Office of the Senate Desk, which organizes the photograph, said too many senators would be absent on Monday and the shot would be rescheduled soon.

PHOTO: Ruth Welland gets a treat and some water out for her guide dog, Sylvia, after classes at Sacramento City College. November 9, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Autumn Cruz.


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