Pennsylvania Service Dog Laws

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Definitions

Under Dog Law:

“Service dog.” Any dog which has been or is in the process of being trained as a guide dog, signal dog or has been trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.

3 P.S. § 459-102

Accommodation Law

Policy statement in law:

“The practice or policy of discrimination against individuals or groups by reason of their . . . use of guide or support animals because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals is a matter of concern of the Commonwealth.”

43 P.S. § 952

Recognized as civil right:

“The opportunity for an individual to obtain employment for which he is qualified, and to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any public accommodation and of any housing accommodation and commercial property without discrimination because of . . . the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right which shall be enforceable as set forth in this act.”

43 P.S. § 953

Public accommodation discrimination:

A person is guilty of a summary offense to withhold or deny access to place of public accommodation to person who is using/training a guide, signal or service dog or other aid animal that has been certified by a recognized authority to assist a person.

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 7325

Harassment of/Interference with Service Dogs

Interfering with guide, hearing or service dog:

Misdemeanor of 2nd degree if person willfully and maliciously harasses, annoys, injures, attempts to injure, molests or interferes with a dog guide for an individual who is blind, a hearing dog for an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog for an individual who is physically limited.

Violation results in fine of not less than $500.

Person injuring/killing guide, hearing or service dog:

Misdemeanor of 1st degree if person willfully and maliciously kills, maims, mutilates, tortures or disfigures a dog guide for an individual who is blind, a hearing dog for an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog for an individual who is physically limited. Person shall be required to make reparations for veterinary costs in treating the dog or the cost of obtaining and training a replacement dog.

Violation results in a fine of not less than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or both. A subsequent conviction under this paragraph shall be a felony of the 3rd degree.

Dog injuring/killing guide, hearing or service dog:

Misdemeanor of the 3rd degree if a dog kills, maims or disfigures a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog without provocation by the guide, hearing or service dog or the individual.

A person commits an offense under this subsection only if the person knew or should have known that the dog he owns or co-owns had a propensity to attack human beings or domestic animals without provocation and the owner or co-owner knowingly or recklessly failed to restrain the dog or keep the dog in a contained, secure manner.
Violation results in fine of not more than $5,000 and reparations for veterinary costs in treating guide, hearing, or service dog/replacement costs for dog.

Civil penalty for dog attacking:

Only results if the owner or co-owner knew the dog had a propensity to attack human beings or domestic animals and he or she failed to restrain the dog or keep the dog in a contained, secure manner.

Court may then impose

  • A civil penalty of up to $15,000.
  • Reparations for veterinary costs in treating the guide, hearing or service dog and, if necessary, the cost of retraining the dog or of obtaining and training a replacement guide, hearing or service dog.
  • Loss of income for the time the individual is unable to work due to the unavailability of the guide, hearing or service dog.

18 P.S. § 5511

Driving Law

The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any totally or partially blind pedestrian accompanied by a guide dog and shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring or endangering the pedestrian.

Violation is a summary offense punishable by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $150.

75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3549

Licensing Law

License fee waiver only applies to service dogs used for aid or any municipal or State Police department or agency using a dog in the performance of the functions or duties of such department or agency.

3 P.S. § 459-217