Keller explained to local news outlet CBS 5 that he was inspired to sign up a beehive as a service animal, even though he does not really own a beehive as a pet, after seeing a supposed service dog misbehaving in a parking lot.
"I could very easily tell that it was not a service animal because it was pulling the owner to the parking lot," Keller said, before noting that “a lot of people thought it was hilarious, and a lot of people were getting upset.”
Keller managed to file his registration papers, including a photo of the supposed hive, through a website called USAServiceDogRegistration.com.
According to Jaymie Cardin, a service dog trainer in Scottsdale, Arizona, told the station that many of the service animal registration sites that exist online don’t actually verify the animals being registered.
"They're very silly. They don't mean anything. You can go pay for a registry on one of those web sites, and basically, you're just paying for a piece of paper and to put a name on a list,” Cardin explained.
"Training is how you tell whether it's a service animal or not," she added.
According to US federal law, namely the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined “as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.”
Emotional support or comfort animals, on the other hand, include any animals that enhance a person’s overall well-being and comfort. Since such animals have not necessarily been trained for any particular task, the ADA does not consider them service animals, though certain state and local laws may allow their owners to bring them into public places.
Keller hopes that by registering a beehive as a service animal, he can raise awareness of the lax standards of third-party registration sites.
"It's making people believe all animals are service animals when they're not," Keller noted. "And there's a clear difference."