Legislation sponsored by New Jersey State Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset) to allow disabled persons to keep their retired service animals passed the New Jersey Senate by a vote of 38-0.
Sen. Bucco’s bill prevents disabled persons from being separated from their retired service animal by guaranteeing equal access housing. (Flickr)
“People spend years forging a relationship with their service animals. They shouldn’t be separated simply because the animal has to retire from its service duties,” Senator Bucco said. “This legislation will keep them together without putting the person’s access to housing in jeopardy.”
Under current law, a person with a disability who has a guide dog is entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations and must not be required to pay extra compensation to have their service dog.
Once an animal who retires from its service responsibilities, it is considered a pet. That change in status can make it difficult for an owner who wants to keep them as a pet if they live in housing that puts restrictions on pets or the number the tenant is allowed to have.
This legislation, S-1359, grants the person equal access to any housing accommodation even if they keep their retired pet in addition their current service animal. They would not have to pay any additional cost for having the pet in their house.
“We never want to separate a disabled person from their service animal,” Senator Bucco said. “They deserve to live out their years as pets in a home where they know they are loved and cherished.”
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