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Texas

Consolidated Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: V. T. C. A., Government Code 661.910; V. T. C. A., Human Resources Code 121.002 - 007; V. T. C. A., Penal Code 42.091; V. T. C. A., Transportation Code 552.008 - 010; V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code 437.02

Citation: TX GOVT 661.910; TX HUM RES 121.002 - 007; TX PENAL 42.091; TX TRANSP 552.008 - 010; TX HEALTH & S 437.023


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 11/2013

Summary:  

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.



Statute in Full:

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Government Code. Title 6. Public Officers and Employees. Subtitle B. State Officers and Employees  Chapter 661. Leave. Subchapter Z. Miscellaneous Leave Provisions for State Employees.

§ 661.910. Assistance Dog Training for Employees With a Disability

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Human Resources Code. Title 8. Rights and Responsibilities of Persons with Disabilities. Chapter 121. Participation in Social and Economic Activities.

§ 121.002. Definitions

§ 121.003. Discrimination Prohibited

§ 121.004. Penalties for and Damages Resulting from Discrimination

§ 121.005. Responsibilities of Persons with Disabilities

§ 121.006. Penalties for Improper Use of Assistance Animals

§ 121.007. Blind and Disabled Pedestrians - 121.007. Renumbered as V.T.C.A., Transportation Code § 552.010 and amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1272, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2009

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Penal Code. Title 9. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency. Chapter 42. Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.

§ 42.091. Attack on Assistance Animal

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Transportation Code. Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle C. Rules of the Road. Chapter 552. Pedestrians

§ 552.008. Drivers to Exercise Due Care

§ 552.010. Blind Pedestrians

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Health and Safety Code. Title 6. Food, Drugs, Alcohol, and Hazardous Substances. Subtitle A. Food and Drug Health Regulations. Chapter 437. Regulation of Food Service Establishments, Retail Food Stores, Mobile Food Units, and Roadside Food Vendors

§ 437.023. Service Animals

 

 

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Government Code. Title 6. Public Officers and Employees. Subtitle B. State Officers and Employees  Chapter 661. Leave. Subchapter Z. Miscellaneous Leave Provisions for State Employees.

§ 661.910. Assistance Dog Training for Employees With a Disability

(a) A state employee who is a person with a disability, as defined by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code, is entitled to a leave of absence without a deduction in salary for the purpose of attending a training program to acquaint the employee with an assistance dog to be used by the employee.

(b) The leave of absence provided by this section may not exceed 10 working days in a fiscal year.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 279, § 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

 

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Human Resources Code. Title 8. Rights and Responsibilities of Persons with Disabilities. Chapter 121. Participation in Social and Economic Activities.

§ 121.002. Definitions

In this chapter:

<Text of subd. (1) effective until Jan. 1, 2014 >

(1) “Assistance animal” means an animal that is specially trained or equipped to help a person with a disability and that:

(A) is used by a person with a disability who has satisfactorily completed a specific course of training in the use of the animal; and

(B) has been trained by an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities as reputable and competent to provide animals with training of this type.

<Text of subd. (1) effective Jan. 1, 2014 >

(1) “Assistance animal” and “service animal” mean a canine that is specially trained or equipped to help a person with a disability and that is used by a person with a disability .

(2) “Harass” means any conduct that:

(A) is directed at an assistance animal that impedes or interferes with, or is intended to impede or interfere with, the animal's performance of its duties; or

(B) places a person with a disability who is using an assistance animal, or a trainer who is training an assistance animal, in danger of injury.

(3) “Housing accommodations” means all or part of real property that is used or occupied or is intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied as the home, residence, or sleeping place of one or more human beings, except a single-family residence whose occupants rent, lease, or furnish for compensation only one room.

<Text of subd. (4) effective until Jan. 1, 2014 >

(4) “Person with a disability” means a person who has a mental or physical disability, including mental retardation, hearing impairment, deafness, speech impairment, visual impairment, or any health impairment that requires special ambulatory devices or services.

<Text of subd. (4) effective Jan. 1, 2014 >

(4) “Person with a disability” means a person who has:

(A) a mental or physical disability;

(B) an intellectual or developmental disability;

(C) a hearing impairment;

(D) deafness;

(E) a speech impairment;

(F) a visual impairment;

(G) post-traumatic stress disorder; or

(H) any health impairment that requires special ambulatory devices or services.

<Text of subd. (5) effective until Jan. 1, 2014 >

(5) “Public facilities” includes a street, highway, sidewalk, walkway, common carrier, airplane, motor vehicle, railroad train, motor bus, streetcar, boat, or any other public conveyance or mode of transportation; a hotel, motel, or other place of lodging; a public building maintained by any unit or subdivision of government; a building to which the general public is invited; a college dormitory or other educational facility; a restaurant or other place where food is offered for sale to the public; and any other place of public accommodation, amusement, convenience, or resort to which the general public or any classification of persons from the general public is regularly, normally, or customarily invited.

<Text of subd. (5) effective Jan. 1, 2014 >

(5) “Public facility ” includes a street, highway, sidewalk, walkway, common carrier, airplane, motor vehicle, railroad train, motor bus, streetcar, boat, or any other public conveyance or mode of transportation; a hotel, motel, or other place of lodging; a public building maintained by any unit or subdivision of government; a retail business, commercial establishment, or office building to which the general public is invited; a college dormitory or other educational facility; a restaurant or other place where food is offered for sale to the public; and any other place of public accommodation, amusement, convenience, or resort to which the general public or any classification of persons from the general public is regularly, normally, or customarily invited.

(6) “White cane” means a cane or walking stick that is metallic or white in color, or white tipped with a contrasting color, and that is carried by a blind person to assist the blind person in traveling from place to place.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2425, ch. 842, art. 1, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 3310, ch. 865, § 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 278, § 1, eff. June 5, 1985; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 890, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 649, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., ch. 838 (H.B. 489), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

 

§ 121.003. Discrimination Prohibited

(a) Persons with disabilities have the same right as the able-bodied to the full use and enjoyment of any public facility in the state.

<Text of subsec. (b) effective until Jan. 1, 2014>

(b) No common carrier, airplane, railroad train, motor bus, streetcar, boat, or other public conveyance or mode of transportation operating within the state may refuse to accept as a passenger a person with a disability solely because of the person's disability, nor may a person with a disability be required to pay an additional fare because of his or her use of an assistance animal, wheelchair, crutches, or other device used to assist a person with a disability in travel.

<Text of subsec. (b) effective Jan. 1, 2014>

(b) No common carrier, airplane, railroad train, motor bus, streetcar, boat, or other public conveyance or mode of transportation operating within the state may refuse to accept as a passenger a person with a disability because of the person's disability, nor may a person with a disability be required to pay an additional fare because of his or her use of a service animal, wheelchair, crutches, or other device used to assist a person with a disability in travel.

(c) No person with a disability may be denied admittance to any public facility in the state because of the person's disability. No person with a disability may be denied the use of a white cane, assistance animal, wheelchair, crutches, or other device of assistance.

<Text of subsec. (d) effective until Jan. 1, 2014>

(d) The discrimination prohibited by this section includes a refusal to allow a person with a disability to use or be admitted to any public facility, a ruse or subterfuge calculated to prevent or discourage a person with a disability from using or being admitted to a public facility, and a failure to:

(1) comply with Article 9102, Revised Statutes;

(2) make reasonable accommodations in policies, practices, and procedures; or

(3) provide auxiliary aids and services necessary to allow the full use and enjoyment of the public facility.

<Text of subsec. (d) effective Jan. 1, 2014>

(d) The discrimination prohibited by this section includes a refusal to allow a person with a disability to use or be admitted to any public facility, a ruse or subterfuge calculated to prevent or discourage a person with a disability from using or being admitted to a public facility, and a failure to:

(1) comply with Chapter 469, Government Code ;

(2) make reasonable accommodations in policies, practices, and procedures; or

(3) provide auxiliary aids and services necessary to allow the full use and enjoyment of the public facility.

(e) Regulations relating to the use of public facilities by any designated class of persons from the general public may not prohibit the use of particular public facilities by persons with disabilities who, except for their disabilities or use of assistance animals or other devices for assistance in travel, would fall within the designated class.

(f) It is the policy of the state that persons with disabilities be employed by the state, by political subdivisions of the state, in the public schools, and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds on the same terms and conditions as persons without disabilities, unless it is shown that there is no reasonable accommodation that would enable a person with a disability to perform the essential elements of a job.

(g) Persons with disabilities shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the general public, to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

<Text of subsec. (h) effective until Jan. 1, 2014>

(h) A person with a total or partial disability who has or obtains an assistance animal is entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this section, and may not be required to pay extra compensation for the animal but is liable for damages done to the premises by the animal.

<Text of subsec. (h) effective Jan. 1, 2014>

(h) A person with a total or partial disability who has or obtains a service animal is entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this section, and may not be required to pay extra compensation or make a deposit for the animal but is liable for damages done to the premises by the animal except for reasonable wear and tear.

<Text of subsec. (i) effective until Jan. 1, 2014>

(i) An assistance animal in training shall not be denied admittance to any public facility when accompanied by an approved trainer who is an agent of an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons who are disabled as reputable and competent to provide training for assistance animals, and/or their handlers.

<Text of subsec. (i) effective Jan. 1, 2014>

(i) A service animal in training shall not be denied admittance to any public facility when accompanied by an approved trainer .

(j) A person may not assault, harass, interfere with, kill, or injure in any way, or attempt to assault, harass, interfere with, kill, or injure in any way, an assistance animal.

<Text of subsec. (k) effective Jan. 1, 2014>

(k) Except as provided by Subsection (l), a person is not entitled to make demands or inquiries relating to the qualifications or certifications of a service animal for purposes of admittance to a public facility except to determine the basic type of assistance provided by the service animal to a person with a disability.

<Text of subsec. (l) effective Jan. 1, 2014>

(l) If a person's disability is not readily apparent, for purposes of admittance to a public facility with a service animal, a staff member or manager of the facility may inquire about:

(1) whether the service animal is required because the person has a disability; and

(2) what type of work or task the service animal is trained to perform.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2426, ch. 842, art. 1, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 3310, ch. 865, § 2, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., 1st C.S., p. 57, ch. 7, § 10.03(c), eff. Sept. 23, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 278, § 2, eff. June 5, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 249, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 890, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 649, § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 261, § 1, eff. May 22, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 710, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., ch. 838 (H.B. 489), § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

 

§ 121.004. Penalties for and Damages Resulting from Discrimination

<Text of section effective until Jan. 1, 2014. See, also, text of § 121.004 effective Jan. 1, 2014.>

(a) A person, firm, association, corporation, or other organization, or the agent of a person, firm, association, corporation, or other organization who violates a provision of Section 121.003 commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $300 or more than $1,000.

(b) In addition to the penalty provided in Subsection (a) of this section, a person, firm, association, corporation, or other organization, or the agent of a person, firm, association, corporation, or other organization, who violates the provisions of Section 121.003 of this chapter is deemed to have deprived a person with a disability of his or her civil liberties. The person with a disability deprived of his or her civil liberties may maintain a cause of action for damages in a court of competent jurisdiction, and there is a conclusive presumption of damages in the amount of at least $100 to the person with a disability.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2427, ch. 842, art. 1, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 890, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 649, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

§ 121.005. Responsibilities of Persons with Disabilities

(a) A person with a disability who uses an assistance animal for assistance in travel is liable for any damages done to the premises or facilities by the animal.

(b) A person with a disability who uses an assistance animal for assistance in travel or auditory awareness shall keep the animal properly harnessed or leashed, and a person who is injured by the animal because of the failure of a person with a disability to properly harness or leash the animal is entitled to maintain a cause of action for damages in a court of competent jurisdiction under the same law applicable to other causes brought for the redress of injuries caused by animals.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2427, ch. 842, art. 1, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 3310, ch. 865, § 3, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 278, § 3, eff. June 5, 1985; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 649, § 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

§ 121.006. Penalties for Improper Use of Assistance Animals

<Text of subsec. (a) effective until Jan. 1, 2014>

(a) A person who uses an assistance animal with a harness or leash of the type commonly used by persons with disabilities who use trained animals, in order to represent that his or her animal is a specially trained assistance animal when training of the type described in Section 121.002(1)(B) of this chapter has not in fact been provided, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200.

<Text of subsec. (a) effective Jan. 1, 2014>

(a) A person who uses a service animal with a harness or leash of the type commonly used by persons with disabilities who use trained animals, in order to represent that his or her animal is a specially trained service animal when training has not in fact been provided, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by:

(1) a fine of not more than $300; and

(2) 30 hours of community service to be performed for a governmental entity or nonprofit organization that primarily serves persons with visual impairments or other disabilities, or for another entity or organization at the discretion of the court, to be completed in not more than one year .

(b) A person who habitually abuses or neglects to feed or otherwise neglects to properly care for his or her assistance animal is subject to seizure of the animal under Subchapter B, Chapter 821, [FN1] Health and Safety Code.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2427, ch. 842, art. 1, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 3311, ch. 865, § 4, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 278, § 4, eff. June 5, 1985; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 649, § 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., ch. 838 (H.B. 489), § 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

[FN1] V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 821.021 et seq.

 

 § 121.007. Blind and Disabled Pedestrians -  121.007. Renumbered as V.T.C.A., Transportation Code § 552.010 and amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1272, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2009

 

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Transportation Code. Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle C. Rules of the Road. Chapter 552. Pedestrians.

§ 552.008. Drivers to Exercise Due Care

Notwithstanding another provision of this chapter, the operator of a vehicle shall:

(1) exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a roadway;

(2) give warning by sounding the horn when necessary; and

(3) exercise proper precaution on observing a child or an obviously confused or incapacitated person on a roadway.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

 

§ 552.010. Blind Pedestrians

(a) No person may carry a white cane on a public street or highway unless the person is totally or partially blind.

(b) The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection or crosswalk where a pedestrian guided by an assistance animal or carrying a white cane is crossing or attempting to cross shall take necessary precautions to avoid injuring or endangering the pedestrian. The driver shall bring the vehicle to a full stop if injury or danger can be avoided only by that action.

(c) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that as a result of the commission of the offense a collision occurred causing serious bodily injury or death to a blind person, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1) a fine of not more than $500; and

(2) 30 hours of community service to an organization or agency that primarily serves visually impaired or disabled persons, to be completed in not less than six months and not more than one year.

(c-1) A portion of the community service required under Subsection (c)(2) shall include sensitivity training.

(d) For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Assistance animal” has the meaning assigned by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.

(2) “White cane” has the meaning assigned by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.

(e) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2428, ch. 842, art. 1, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 278, § 5, eff. June 5, 1985; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 649, § 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Human Resources Code § 121.007 and amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1272, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2009. 

  

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Penal Code. Title 9. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency. Chapter 42. Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.

§ 42.091. Attack on Assistance Animal

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly attacks, injures, or kills an assistance animal.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly incites or permits an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor to attack, injure, or kill an assistance animal and, as a result of the person's conduct, the assistance animal is attacked, injured, or killed.

(c) An offense under this section is a:

(1) Class A misdemeanor if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor attacks an assistance animal;

(2) state jail felony if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor injures an assistance animal; or

(3) felony of the third degree if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor kills an assistance animal.

(d) A court shall order a defendant convicted of an offense under Subsection (a) to make restitution to the owner of the assistance animal for:

(1) related veterinary or medical bills;

(2) the cost of:

(A) replacing the assistance animal; or

(B) retraining an injured assistance animal by an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities as reputable and competent to provide special equipment for or special training to an animal to help a person with a disability; and

(3) any other expense reasonably incurred as a result of the offense.

(e) In this section:

(1) "Assistance animal" has the meaning assigned by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.

(2) "Custody" has the meaning assigned by Section 42. 09.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 710, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Health and Safety Code. Title 6. Food, Drugs, Alcohol, and Hazardous Substances. Subtitle A. Food and Drug Health Regulations. Chapter 437. Regulation of Food Service Establishments, Retail Food Stores, Mobile Food Units, and Roadside Food Vendors

§ 437.023. Service Animals

<Text of section effective Jan. 1, 2014 >

(a) A food service establishment, retail food store, or other entity regulated under this chapter may not deny a service animal admittance into an area of the establishment or store or of the physical space occupied by the entity that is open to customers and is not used to prepare food if:

(1) the service animal is accompanied and controlled by a person with a disability; or

(2) the service animal is in training and is accompanied and controlled by an approved trainer.

(b) If a service animal is accompanied by a person whose disability is not readily apparent, for purposes of admittance to a food service establishment, retail food store, or physical space occupied by another entity regulated under this chapter, a staff member of the establishment, store, or entity may only inquire about:

(1) whether the service animal is required because the person has a disability; and

(2) what type of work the service animal is trained to perform.

(c) In this section, “service animal” means a canine that is specially trained or equipped to help a person with a disability. An animal that provides only comfort or emotional support to a person is not a service animal under this section. The tasks that a service animal may perform in order to help a person with a disability must be directly related to the person's disability and may include:

(1) guiding a person who has a visual impairment;

(2) alerting a person who has a hearing impairment or who is deaf;

(3) pulling a wheelchair;

(4) alerting and protecting a person who has a seizure disorder;

(5) reminding a person who has a mental illness to take prescribed medication; and

(6) calming a person who has post-traumatic stress disorder.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., ch. 838 (H.B. 489), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

 



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