Service animals clarified as dogs

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Service animals help those with disabilities navigate through their day-to-day activities. Under law, it is an unfair discriminatory practice to prohibit these animals from being in a public place.

A bill that would amend state statute regarding these animals and bring the state in line with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 131-0 by the House Tuesday. HF1181/ SF1086*, sponsored by Rep. Zachary Dorholt (DFL-St. Cloud) and Sen. Bobby Jo Champion (DFL-Mpls), now moves to the governor for action. The Senate passed it 65-0 on April 8.

“It helps clarify the definition of service animal as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Dorholt said. “Service animals are defined as dogs that do tasks for people with disabilities … service animals are working animals not pets.”

The bill would also delete a provision that requires service animals to be properly identified as being trained. This is generally done through papers that should be carried by the animal’s owner, according to testimony earlier this year in the House Civil Law Committee.