SB 0878 Modifies law relating to the rights of persons with service animals
LR Number:3194S.04P Fiscal Note:3194-04
Committee:Aging, Families and Mental Health
Last Action:05/13/02 - Reported Do Pass H Children, Families & Health Journal page:H1991
Title:SCS SB 878
Effective Date:August 28, 2002
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Current Bill Summary

SCS/SB 878 - This act modifies the law relating to the rights of persons with service animals.

Definitions are provided relating to service animals (Section 209.200). Persons are prohibited from refusing to rent or sell a dwelling because a service animal will reside there. Reasonable modifications should be made. Landlords may require proof or a disability and proof of service animal status. No restriction on property or a real estate transaction will be enforceable if it prohibits service animals. Restrictions on pets will not apply to service animals (Section 209.202).

Discrimination by an employer against a person with a disability is prohibited if it involves that person's use of a service animal. Employers may require proof of a disability or of service animal status. No employer may prohibit the presence of a service animal, unless the presence of the animal creates a direct threat or fundamental alteration to the business (Section 209.204).

Places of lodging are prohibited from requiring additional charges or denying equal services to a person using a service animal. Evidence of disability or service animal status may be required. A service animal may be restricted if its presence poses a direct threat or fundamental alteration to the business. Any person who violates this section may be subject to criminal prosecution or a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (Section 209.206).

Public transportation operations are prohibited from refusing service or charging additional fees to a person using a service animal. Violators may be subject to prosecution or a Commission complaint (Section 209.208).

Motor vehicle drivers and persons using service animals must both take necessary safety precautions. Any driver failing to do so will be liable for actual damages. Any person who intentionally causes an accident or injury to a person using a service animal or animal itself will be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor (Section 209.210).

Section 209.212 contains the following provisions for violations against service animals, but does not include lawful acts of humane societies, animal control or shelters:

1. Intentional destruction or injury, unless for humane purposes is a Class C felony.

2. Intentional deprivation or frauds is a Class A misdemeanor or theft/possession of stolen property. 3. Negligent or malicious killing or injury will entail civil liability to the user for $1000 + fees.

4. Willful or malicious injury is a Class C felony.

5. Sale or transfer of a stolen animal is a Class C felony.

6. Willful or negligent injury or destruction will entail civil liability for value of animal and related costs.

Any person misrepresenting an animal as a service animal is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor (Section 209.214).

The owner of a service animal will be liable for any damages caused by the animal. Owners must keep service animals restrained while in use or be subject to civil liability for any damages. Service animals must be identifiable by their restraint method or other identifier (Section 209.216).

The Human Rights Commission will have jurisdiction over the violation of specified sections. Upon a showing that a complaint has been filed with the Commission, a prosecutor may withdraw any pending action on the same violations. This act does not exclude existing civil or criminal remedies (Section 209.218).

This act contains a severability clause.