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Updated Texas Service Dog Law 14 Facts for 2014

14 Facts About the Recently Updated Texas Service Dog Law for 2014

collage of polaroids of service dogs

Last summer, lawmakers updated some of Texas’ laws about service dogs. These updates took effect on January 1, 2014. To help you understand the updated law and your rights, the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities is sharing 14 facts about the service dog law.

  1. Service dogs help people with disabilities. To be a service dog, a dog must be trained to do a job related to a person’s disability.
  2. Service dogs can pull a wheelchair, remind a person to take medication, alert a person who cannot hear, and much more.
  3. You can train a dog to be a service dog yourself. You do not have to hire a special trainer, although you may wish to do so.
  4. Only dogs can be service animals. Some other animals can help at home, but cannot go to all of the public places that service dogs can.
  5. Service dogs may come with their owners to many places, including stores, restaurants, offices, schools, and on public transportation.
  6. Restaurants and food stores must allow a service dog into customer areas if the dog is with its owner and under control.
  7. Workers at public places shouldn’t ask questions about your dog or disability, unless they need to make sure your dog is a service dog.
  8. Workers may ask: “Do you need a dog because of a disability?” and “What type of work is it trained for?” if the answers are not obvious.
  9. You must keep your service dog under control when it is in public. If your dog misbehaves, you may have to take it away.
  10. You are not required to carry ID or paperwork to prove that your dog is a service dog, but it may be helpful to do so.
  11. People who use service dogs have rights to access housing and must not be required to pay a pet deposit for their service dogs.
  12. When a service dog in training is with a trainer, the dog may go to stores, restaurants, offices, schools, and on public transportation.
  13. A person who violates the rights of a person with a service dog may have to pay a fine or do community service.
  14. Some people pretend that untrained dogs are service dogs to gain privileges or avoid paying fees. These people are breaking the law.

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