Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset) to allow disabled persons to keep their retired service animals is now law after it was signed by Governor Chris Christie.
Sen. Bucco’s legislation 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 law keeps them together without putting the person’s access to housing in jeopardy.”
Previously, a person with a disability who had a guide dog was entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations and were not be required to pay extra compensation to have their service dog.
However, once an animal retired from its service responsibilities, it was considered a pet. That change in status made it difficult for an owner who wanted to keep them as a pet if they lived in housing that put restrictions on pets or the number the tenant was allowed to have. This law 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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