Assemblyman ANTHONY M. BUCCO
District 25 (Morris and Somerset)
Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblywoman ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT
District 31 (Hudson)
Assemblyman VINCENT MAZZEO
District 2 (Atlantic)
Guarantees full and equal access to all housing to disabled persons who retain their retired service or guide dog as a pet, and who also obtain a new service or guide dog.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning retired service or guide dogs and amending P.L.1977, c.456.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 4 of P.L.1977, c.456 (C.10:5-29.2) is amended to read as follows:
4. A person with a disability is entitled to rent, lease or purchase, as other members of the general public, all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or compensation in this State, subject to the rights, conditions and limitations established by law. Nothing in this section shall require any person renting, leasing or providing for compensation real property, to modify such property in any way to provide a higher degree of care for a person with a disability than for any other person. A person with a disability who has a service or guide dog, or who obtains a service or guide dog, or who retains their former service or guide dog as a pet after its retirement from service, shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations and shall not be required to pay extra compensation for such service or guide dog or retired pet, but shall be liable for any damages done to the premises by such dog. Any provision in any lease or rental agreement prohibiting maintenance of a pet or pets on or in the premises shall not be applicable to a working service or guide dog, or a retired service or guide dog, owned by a tenant who is a person with a disability.
(cf: P.L.2003, c.180, s.20)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would guarantee, under the “Law Against Discrimination,” full and equal access to all housing to disabled persons who retain their retired service or guide dog as a pet, and who also obtain a new service or guide dog to replace the retired service or guide dog.
Once a service or guide dog retires, due to age, infirmity, or other reason, from its work as a service or guide dog to a disabled person, it is considered a pet. This “change in status” can be an obstacle for a disabled person who wants to keep their retired service or guide dog as a pet, because if that person lives in housing that does not allow for pets, or allows only one pet (which would be the current service or guide dog), then the retired service or guide dog is returned to the service agency and likely adopted by another person or family pursuant to the service agency’s protocol. This turn of events is stressful not only for the dog, who would lose its long-time home and family, but also for the disabled person, who has developed a love for, and attachment to, their service or guide dog, and who wants the dog to live out its remaining years with him or her.
The provisions of this bill make absolutely clear under the “Law Against Discrimination” that a disabled person who uses a service or guide dog, and who wants to retain their retired service or guide dog as a pet, shall have full and equal access to all housing.