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Massachusetts Service Dog Laws

Massachusetts Service Dog Laws

No Comments January 2, 2016

Accommodation Law

Any blind person, or deaf or hearing handicapped person, or other physically handicapped person accompanied by a dog guide, shall be entitled to any and all accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all public conveyances, public amusements and places of public accommodation, within the commonwealth, to which persons not accompanied by dogs are entitled.

Violation results in a fine of not more $300 and civil damages as described.

M.G.L.A. 272 § 98A

A person accompanied by and engaged in the raising or training of a service dog, including a hearing, guide or assistance dog, shall have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as those afforded to an individual with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq.

M.G.L.A. 129 § 39F

Harassment of/Interference with Service Dogs

A physically impaired person who uses an assistance animal or the owner of the assistance animal, may bring an action for economic and non-economic damages against a person who steals or attacks the assistance animal, or whose non-assistance animal attacks an assistance animal.

If the theft or attack of an assistance animal results in the death of the animal; the animal is not returned; or if injuries sustained prevent the assistance animal from returning to service, the measure of economic damages shall include:

  • veterinary medical expenses
  • replacement cost of an equally trained assistance animal, without any differentiation for the age or the experience of the animal

A cause of action shall not arise under this section if the physically impaired individual, owner or the individual having custody or supervision of the assistance animal was engaged in the commission of a crime at the time of injury sustained by the assistance animal.

M.G.L.A. 272 § 85B

Driving Law

Driver must bring vehicle to full stop and take necessary precautions whenever a totally or partially blind pedestrian, guided by a guide dog crosses or attempts to cross a way.

A person who owns an animal shall restrain and control such animal on a leash when in proximity to a guide dog that is on a public or private way.

Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of no less than $100 nor more than $500.

M.G.L.A. 90 § 14A

Licensing Law

No fee shall be charged for a license for a dog specially trained to lead or serve a blind person.

No fee shall be charged for a license for a dog professionally trained in the hearing dog business to serve a deaf person.

The office on disability shall adopt rules and regulations for the licensing of service dogs and no fee shall be charged for a license for a dog recognized as a service dog.

M.G.L.A. 140 § 139

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