State of Texas House Bill No. 489 is in effect as of January 1, 2014. It was signed on June 7, 2013.
This bill echoes the spirit and intent of the 2010 ADA Amendments Act. HB 489 prohibits restaurants and other establishments from refusing to allow entry to service dogs or any disabled person. This bill will expand the definition of a service dog to include those who help people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
A ‘service animal’ means a dog that is specially trained (or currently in training) or equipped to help a person with a disability. Dogs of all
breeds and sizes can be service dogs when they are properly trained. Examples of service dogs are shown throughout this page. Note: an animal that provides only comfort or emotional support to a person is NOT a service animal.
A ‘person with a disability’ means a person who has:
The tasks that that the service dog may perform include:
A food service establishment, retail food store, or other entity may not deny a service dog admittance into an area of establishment or store or of the physical space occupied by the entity that is open to customers and is not used to prepare food if:
If the person with the service dog has a disability that is not ‘readily apparent’, a staff member of the establishment, may ONLY inquire about:
It is prohibited to make demands or inquiries relating to the qualifications or certifications of a service dog for purposes of admittance to a public facility.
The discrimination prohibited by this bill includes a refusal to allow a person with a disability:
Penalties and damages resulting from discrimination:
Violating a provision of HB 489 is a misdemeanor which is punishable by:
In addition to the penalty, those who violate this bill are deemed to have deprived a person with a disability of his or her civil liberties. The person whose liberties have been affected may maintain a cause of action for damages in a court of competent jurisdiction and there is a conclusive presumption of damages in the amount of at least $300 to the person with a disability.
A person who is not disabled or a disabled person without proper training who uses a dog they claim is a service dog is guilty of a misdemeanor which is punishable by:
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