Making Change a Reality

Legal and Advocacy Issues taken on by 4 Paws Families

Addie’s Law Passed in NJ

When Samantha Gill discovered that New Jersey law specifically states that service dogs were to be permitted in school buildings and on school grounds, but not specifically on school buses, she set out to make everything very clear. Federal law would require access to school transportation and she wanted it written in state law, just like the rest. Addie’s law was sponsored by Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, D-Atlantic who wanted to ensure students with disabilities have the same opportunities as their peers. Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill into law in March. Congrats to Addie and her service dog Data on their law and life changing accomplishment!

Northfield mom’s push to allow service dogs on school buses ends in law

Department of Justice

Effective March 15, 2011 From Department of Justice 28 CFR Part 35, [CRT Docket No. 105; AG Order No. 3180-2010] RIN 1190-AA46. Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services; Corrections: B. Substantive Error. As published, the final rule contains an error in wording that may cause confusion over the interpretation of the rule. Specifically, in Sec. 35.104 (“Definitions”), the “service animal” definition states as follows: “The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability.” Because a service animal is not always controlled by the individual with a disability, the service animal’s “handler” is not necessarily the individual with a disability. To clear up any confusion, the word “handler’s” should be replaced with the word “individual’s” in that sentence. Similar use of the word “handler” in the section-by-section analysis contained in Appendix A to part 35 also needs to be changed to “individual” so it is clear that the individual with a disability does not necessarily need to be the animal’s handler in order to be covered by the rule’s provisions. (To read the entire correction, click here.)

State of Indiana

Note to Karen Shirk from Claudia M., May 2009 The law passed and contains some very favorable language (includes specifically “autism service animals”). I was not able to get three-person-teams included in the language but my state representative supports that addition and may propose that addition next session. Thought you’d like to know.

Note from Karen Shirk: Claudia and family have been working with law makers and we helped with language and they did get the law changed to include specifically SCHOOLS and Autism Assistance Dogs. This is Indiana State law. So now we have Jake’s Law in Maryland (Jake and Service Dog, Sienna) and Bekah and Grizwald’s family changed the law in Virginia. And the Oda family (Donnie and service dog, Marble) changing Ohio law! ONE STATE AT A TIME.

State of Virginia

March 10, 2008 A link to the first law passed as a result of 4 Paws families advocating for change, including the three-unit team as a LEGAL service dog team under the law! CHAPTER 506. An Act to amend and reenact ? 51.5-44 of the Code of Virginia, relating to service dogs; training. [H 853] Approved March 10, 2008. Kudos Virginia!

State of Maryland

May 27, 2008 Seizure alert dogs, owners will now get equal access. Kudos Maryland!