|SB 0225||Enumerates the rights of persons with service animals|
|LR Number:||0647S.01I||Fiscal Note:||0647-01|
|Committee:||Aging, Families, Mental & Public Health|
|Last Action:||04/16/03 - Hearing Conducted S Aging, Families, Mental & Public||Journal page:|
|Effective Date:||August 28, 2003|
SB 225 - This act enumerates the rights of persons with service animals. The act provides the necessary definitions relating to service animals, such as "major life activity", "physical or mental impairment", and "service animal" (Section 209.200).
The act prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of a dwelling on the basis that a service animal will be residing or visiting the dwelling. Reasonable accommodations should be made. Landlords may require proof of 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. The refusal to engage in a residential real estate transaction due to a person's use of a service animal is prohibited (Section 209.202).
The act prohibits an employer from discriminating against a person with a disability by directly or indirectly interfering with the person's use of a service animal. Employers may require proof of a disability and proof 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 fundamentally alters the nature of the business (Section 209.204).
The act prohibits any person from requiring additional charges or any place of accommodation from denying equal services to a person using a service animal. Identification cards or other written documentation, the presence of a harness, tags, or credible verbal assurances will be considered evidence of the disability and that the animal is a service animal. A service animal's access may be restricted or denied if its presence poses a direct threat or fundamentally alters the nature of 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).
The act prohibits any mode of public transportation from refusing service or charging additional fees to a person using a service animal. Any person who violates this section may be subject to criminal prosecution or a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (Section 209.208).
Motor vehicle drivers and persons using service animals must both take necessary safety precautions. Any driver failing to take such precautions will be liable for actual damages. Any person who intentionally causes an accident or injury to a person using a service animal will be guilty of a class B misdemeanor (Section 209.211).
Section 209.212 contains the following provisions for violations against service animals:
Intentional destruction or injury, unless for humane purposes, is a class C felony.
- Intentional deprivation or fraud is a class A misdemeanor and will not prohibit other charges of theft and possession of stolen property.
- Negligent or malicious killing or injury will result in civil liability to the user for $1000 + fees.
- Willful or malicious injury is a class C felony.
- Sale or transfer of a stolen animal is a class C felony.
- Willful or negligent injury or destruction will result in civil liability for the value of the service animal and any related costs.
Any person misrepresenting an animal as a service animal will be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor (209.214).
The owner of a service animal or service animal in training 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 (209.216).
The Human Rights Commission will have jurisdiction over violations of specified sections. Upon a showing that a complaint has been filed with the Commission, a prosecutor may withdraw any pending action concerning the same violations. The act does not exclude existing civil or criminal remedies (Section 209.218).
This act contains a severability clause.
This act is identical to SB 878 (2002).