New Law Provides Protections for Service Dogs and Their Owners

Bill provides much-needed protections for the disabled and the dogs who serve them.

Advocates for the disabled are celebrating a legislative victory with the passage of H.B. 165, signed into law this week.

The bill provides authorities with options for charging pet owners with a third-degree misdemeanor if their animal injures a service dog and they had prior knowledge of aggression issues.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed H.B. 165 into law. Introduced by state Rep. John Evans, R-5, the bill will increase the protection of service dogs by ensuring that those responsible for harming, endangering or allowing their pets to harm a service dog must pay the full cost of retraining or replacing the dog: they could also face criminal penalties.

Service dogs are highly trained animals tasked with assisting people with disabilities ranging from blindness to seizures. These dogs are highly sensitive to their environment and require constant monitoring to ensure they are able to guide and protect their guardians.

“This new law is an important part of protecting the service animals who play a critical role in helping people with physical limitations live a more fulfilling life,” said Rep. John Evans. “These animals—which undergo a vast amount of training and preparation—are trained not to fight back in an attack with another animal, and that’s why it’s necessary to have appropriate consequences in place. I’d like to thank The Humane Society of the United States as well as animal advocates all over Pennsylvania who fought for this new law.”

“On behalf of our more than 650,000 members and supporters The Humane Society of the United States heartily thanks Governor Tom Corbett for signing HB 165, and Representative John Evans for introducing this important bill to increase protections for service dogs in Pennsylvania,” said Sarah Speed, The HSUS’ Pennsylvania state director.

31 thoughts on “New Law Provides Protections for Service Dogs and Their Owners

  1. A drop in the desperate-needs bucket but I suppose those of us in other states will have to be happy with the tiny increases in protection for the disabled. I do not understand why tougher FEDERAL legislation has not been introduced when there are so many people these days who are denied even basic services because of their service dogs. I note that there are stores in my area now posting at store entrances that they “require documentation” of a service animal and such document “must be available for inspection upon request”. It is my understanding that such documentation is not required to be carried even though it probably is a good idea for a service dog to wear identifying harness and vest. Every day the news media has yet another story about a disabled person denied food or housing or access to medical care with the reasoning or excuse being their service dog is not acceptable. This is wrong and the situation needs very strong laws to protect our most vulnerable citizens especially the ones who have laid their lives on the line in combat and need service animals to help them in their new civilian lives.

    1. any place of bussince or place you rent and they denied you you can take them to court and sue them also you can sue the place you rent for free rent as long as you live in this part you will never have to pay rent.
      My friend had this problem to and she got free rent for as long as she lived in this apartment and they had to also pay her $260 dollars.
      This made the landlord learn the law.

  2. Why the heck would you even need a law? That should just be common sense! Who out there is so mean that they wouldn’t help anyone with a service dog? They should be banished to outer space.

    1. Agreed. But common sense is not so common anymore if it ever was. Many people out there are very lax about keeping their dog on a leash and almost seem to be oblivious to the importance of keeping their do away from other dogs until otherwise given the OK.

      Some folks seem to think because there dog is friendly everything is ok and all dogs can approach each other. I’ve even seen people ignore others in their pleas to “please get their dog because just because YOUR dog is friendly doesn’t mean MINE is.”

      Then the owner of loose dog gets mad because the dog leashed (owner obeying leash laws) wonders why his dog was attacked.

      If only all dog owners had a brain.

  3. This is wonderful news! Service dogs give so much to people with disabilities and I am pleased to hear they have more protection. I am also pleased to hear about this because of the amount of training it takes to prepare a service dog. Happy to see service dogs, their trainers and owners having this recognition.. 🙂

  4. I am curious about something. Does anyone know why service dogs are trained NOT to attack if attacked?

    I understand the reasoning that it could be dangerous and some dogs might not naturally defend themselves anyway. But to have their defenses trained out of them even as a service dog doesn’t make sense to me completely.

    Can someone explain this. Also, what happens if the disabled person is attacked. The service dog won’t defend against that either? It just seems more dangerous to train that out of them than to leave whatever they would do anyway in them.

  5. I have a service dog, and I think any public place should not be able to ask what service your dog does for you. Why I think this way if you tell them what the service dog does for you then they will know what type of diablity you have. Then why state this part in the law, where they can ask you. We need to change the law and take this part out. and add this to the ADA law for service dogs where they can ask you if it a service dog, or a puppy in training. A puppy in training is not cover under the ADA law tell its done with its full training and then is a SD. Did you know a puppy in training to be a service dog needs to have a vest on and patches on saying SD or AD puppy in training why i think this way because now the law says its up to the owner if they want a vest on their SD and then it hard on places to know please help me get this new law pass for 2013, email your governer, ect… One more thing also a puppy in training can also for asample the patch could say, HEARING PUPPY IN TRAINING or just SD,AD PUPPY IN TRAINING.

    Please let me know what you thing of this as a new law!
    you can email me! [email protected]

  6. Its a shame on how many people take their pet dogs in to public stores, and they don’t act good. Service Dogs go threw lots of training. And 89% of the non-service dogs have never been to training classes. Its not right to the SD after all their training. It makes me so very mad I have a black lab thats a SD. We need to make a law where its a felony to take your dog in public building unless its a dog show or some type of pet store.

  7. James you are so true in what you said. I seen this to many times.
    I have a labradoodle as my service dog.

  8. My labardoodle that was a service dog died in 2013. We did not have the money to pay for a service dog training school for a service dog for a hearing dog and seizure responds dogs. So my husband got me a deer head Chihuahua for my hear dog. I self trained my own hearing dog. This breed for hearing dogs for the deaf, hard of hearing, people that wear hearing aids. They are #1 for small breed hearing dogs. We need more hearing taining schools for Deer head chihuahua to be trainined to be hearing dogs. Go online to get your orange vest and your hear dog patches of all styles at Pup’

  9. Since last time I post about my Deer Head Chihuahua ny husband died and and my hearing dog been doing very good for me as adisabledervice dog. But I moved from Washington State down to OR State wherethere State law for Hearing Dog is they must have a orang leash on to be working out in public.
    I know what AAmerican with Disability act say you do not need a uniform on a service dog pit in public but it sure helps business know a true service dog from a fake service dog.
    But still people see my dog as a fake because she so small and most people still think of service dogs as big dogs, so the disabled community needs your help today or when ever you read this please email your senator, governor and legislature in your state and tell them we need more Deer Head Chihuahua service dog training schools in each state for Hearing dogs and seizure service dogs and autism service dog and and Therapeutic service dog and PSD for are military men and women they need service dogs too when they come out of the service.
    If you can help us thank you.

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