Service Dog Laws in California

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If you are considering having your pet trained for service dog certification or you currently are utilizing a canine for this purpose, you should be aware of the laws in your state governing their use. Following, is a summarized version of service dog laws in California. There are federal guidelines set forth regulating the use of service animals as well. The most comprehensive of these, is the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. Certain section numbers and codes of California law will be listed, but it must be noted that these will be paraphrased in many cases for the purpose of space and clarity. For more detailed information you should consult an attorney or state representative.

Section 54.1 describes the fact that all disabled individual have the right to access all public venues the same as any able bodied person. The disabled must never be refused entrance and use of public facilities simply due to their disablement. However, it is Section 54.2 (a) of service dog laws in California that directly relates to your canine partner. It states that any guide, signal or service dog must be allowed on the premises with no additional charges or conditions being required. The law does hold the dog owner responsible for any damages that might occur to the property subsequent to allowing said entry. Section 54.2(b) reiterates all of the above provisions for service dogs in training, with or without the disabled person present. In this case though, the animal must be on a leash and be clearly identified by a tag issued by the county clerk within the animal control department to signify the dog is part of an instruction exercise. The person accompanying the dog should be an authorized professional trainer.

Section 54.3(a) says any interference with a disabled person or their guide dog involving their admittance to, and enjoyment of, any public accommodation may result in a fine of no less than $1,000, and up to three times of any actual damages. In conclusion, the service dog laws in California are clearly defined to allow the everyday use of these animals to benefit the disabled. That said, it is highly recommended that you acquire service dog certification for the animal to fully realize all the advantages available in maintaining a higher quality of life.

2 Responses to Service Dog Laws in California

  1. John Giumarra says:

    Good information, but it still leaves me with a question. How does this law effect living situations. Can a land lord deny a service dog or place a limit on the breeds of the dog. Reason Im asking is my land lord has stated that I would have to pay a $500 non-refundable deposit and was limited on the breed of the dog. My problem is that I need a large dog which will assist me with balance. Thank you for any help or information you can give me. Thank-you, John Giumarra

    • admin says:

      Hi John, The landlord cannot charge any fees for a service animal. The only exception to this rule is if the landlord is renting their own residence of 4 units or less.

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