Service Animals Given New Protections
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 26, 2004
COLUMBUS, OHIO--Thursday was a great day for service animals in Ohio.
Governor Bob Taft signed House Bill 369, giving special protections for service animals and guide dogs, similar to those that protect police dogs and horses.
The new law makes it a crime to recklessly or menacingly "taunt, torment, or strike" a service dog; throw an object or substance at the animal; interfere with or obstruct a service animal or the person being assisted; keep the assisted person from their service animal; release the animal, or come into the "area of control" of the animal without the consent of the served person.
Owners or keepers of other dogs are required to restrain their animals to keep them from harassing, attacking or chasing service dogs.
Additionally, HB 369 makes the theft of a service dog, police dog or horse a third-degree felony.
Those who violate the law are to be responsible for any veterinarian bills, medications, or costs related to replacing the animal, including training a new one.
The measure changes the wording of some disability-related legal codes. For example, "handicapped assistance dogs" was changed to "service dogs", and "unfit to work" was replaced with "unable to work" in some definitions related to persons with disabilities.
The law, which will go into effect in 90 days, also specifically exempts dogs that help people with epileptic seizures from having to pay a registration fee.
Amended Substitute House Bill Number 369 (Ohio 125th General Assembly)