Full Statute Name:  Consolidated Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws

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Primary Citation:  MD Code, Local Government, § 13-104; MD Code, Human Services, § 7-701 - 709; MD Code, Transportation, § 21-511 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  January, 2015 Alternate Citation:  MD LOCAL GOVT § 13-104; MD HUMAN SERV § 7-701 - 709; MD TRANS § 21-511
Summary:

The following statutes comprise Maryland's relevant assistance animal/guide dog laws.

Statute Text: 

West's Annotated Code of Maryland. Article 10 to Article 26A. Article 24. Political Subdivisions--Miscellaneous Provisions. Title 11. Licenses. Subtitle 5. Regulation of Animals

§ 13-104. Service dogs 

Title 7. Individuals with Disabilities. Subtitle 7. Blind, Visually Impaired, Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Mobility Impaired Individuals.

§ 7-701 . Definitions

§ 7-702 . State policy

§ 7-703 . Blind Industries and Services of Maryland

§ 7-704 . Rights of individuals with disabilities

§ 7-705 . Service animals

§ 7-706 . Construction

§ 7-707 . Violations; injunction

§ 7-708 . Professional training programs to include rights of individuals with service animals

§ 7-709 . White Cane Safety Day

Transportation. Title 21. Vehicle Laws--Rules of the Road. Subtitle 5. Pedestrians' Rights and Rules.

§ 21-511 . Blind, deaf or mobility impaired pedestrians

 

 

West's Annotated Code of Maryland. Article 10 to Article 26A. Article 24. Political Subdivisions--Miscellaneous Provisions. Title 11. Licenses. Subtitle 5. Regulation of Animals

 § 13-104. Service dogs 

(Formerly cited as MD CODE, Art. 24, § 11-502)

“Service dogs” defined

(a) In this section, “service dog” means a dog that is professionally trained to aid individuals who are:

(1) blind or visually impaired;

(2) deaf or hard of hearing; or

(3) mobility impaired.

Exemption from fees

(b) If an application meets the requirements of subsection (c) of this section and the local licensing agency is satisfied that the dog for which a license is sought is a service dog and is actually in use as a service dog:

(1) the dog owner is not required to pay a fee for issuance of the license; and

(2) the local licensing agency shall inscribe across the face of the license in red ink the words “service dog”.

Affidavit required
(c)(1) An application for a license for a service dog shall be accompanied by an affidavit from the owner stating that:

(i) the dog for which the license is sought has been professionally trained as a service dog; and

(ii) the owner is aware that the owner may be liable, under § 7-705 of the Human Services Article, for damages caused by the service dog to premises or facilities.

(2) The local licensing agency in each county shall make forms available for affidavits required under this subsection.

Additional tag
(d)(1) In addition to any tag issued under Part II of this subtitle, the local licensing agency shall issue a tag for a service dog.

(2) A service dog tag shall:

(i) be orange;

(ii) be labeled “service dog”; and

(iii) indicate that it is issued by the State.

(3) In accordance with § 4-316 of the State Finance and Procurement Article, the Department of General Services shall purchase the service dog tags and make them available to the counties on reimbursement for the cost of the tags.

Credits
Added by Acts 2013, c. 119, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2013.

 

§ 7-701. Definitions

 In general

(a) In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

Blind

(b) “Blind” means:

(1) a visual acuity not exceeding 20/200 in the better eye with corrective lenses; or

(2) a visual field of which the widest diameter subtends an angle of not more than 20 degrees.

Deaf

(c) “Deaf” means a permanent hearing loss:

(1) that necessitates the use of amplification devices to hear oral communication; or

(2) for which amplification devices are ineffective.

Disability

(d) “Disability” has the meaning stated in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12102.

Housing accommodations

(e) “Housing accommodations” means real property, or a portion of real property, that is:

(1) offered for compensation; and

(2) used or occupied, or intended to be used or occupied, as the residence or lodging of at least one individual.

Mobility impaired

(f) “Mobility impaired” means an inability to carry objects or to move or travel without the use of an assistive device or service animal.

Service animal

(g) “Service animal” means a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including:

(1) guiding individuals with impaired vision;

(2) alerting individuals with impaired hearing to an intruder or sounds;

(3) providing minimal protection or rescue work;

(4) pulling a wheelchair;

(5) fetching dropped items; or

(6) detecting the onset of a seizure.

Service animal trainer

(h) “Service animal trainer” means a person who trains or raises service animals for individuals with disabilities, whether the person is a professional or volunteer.

Credits
Added by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007. Amended by Acts 2007, c. 241, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2007; Acts 2008, c. 594, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2008; Acts 2008, c. 595, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2008; Acts 2012, c. 305, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012.

 

§ 7-702. State policy

Social and economic participation

(a) It is the policy of the State to encourage and enable blind, visually impaired, deaf, and hard of hearing individuals to participate fully in the social and economic life of the State and to be employed.

Employment supported by public funds

(b) It is the policy of the State that blind, visually impaired, deaf, and hard of hearing individuals shall be employed by the State, political subdivisions of the State, public schools, and other employers supported wholly or partly by public funds on the same terms and conditions as individuals without those disabilities, unless an individual's disability prevents doing the work required.

Deaf and hard of hearing recognized as cultural minority

(c) Deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the State are recognized as a cultural minority with specialized communication needs.

American Sign Language

(d)(1) In this subsection, "American Sign Language" means a visual-spatial method of communication that is a distinct language involving the hands, arms, facial markers, and body movements to communicate with others, including the conveyance of thoughts, words, emotions, and grammatical information.

(2) American Sign Language is recognized as a language system designed to meet the specialized communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007.

 

§ 7-703. Blind Industries and Services of Maryland

"Board" defined

(a) In this section, "Board" means the Board of Trustees of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland.

Board of Trustees of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland established

(b) There is a Board of Trustees that is a body corporate under the name of "Blind Industries and Services of Maryland".

Composition; appointment

(c)(1) The Board consists of 11 trustees appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(2) Of the 11 trustees, at least 4 trustees shall be blind.

Organization

(d)(1) From among its members, the Board shall elect a chair and a treasurer.

(2) The Board may elect another member to serve as chair if it is inconvenient or impossible for the regularly elected chair to serve.

Terms

(e)(1) The term of a member is 3 years.

(2) The terms of members are staggered as required by the terms provided for members of the Board on October 1, 2007.

Vacancies

(f)(1) The Governor shall fill a vacancy on the Board by appointment with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(2) A member who is appointed after a term begins shall serve only for the rest of the term and until a successor is appointed and qualifies.

Compensation; expenses

(g) A trustee is entitled to:

(1) per diem compensation for each Board or committee meeting attended in accordance with the State budget; and

(2) reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of the trustee's duties under the Standard State Travel Regulations, [FN1] as provided in the State budget.

Duties

(h) The Board shall:

(1) maintain in Baltimore City a training and employment center for blind individuals;

(2) operate the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland for the labor and manufactures of all blind adult residents of the State who give satisfactory evidence of character and ability to do the work required;

(3) use the profits arising from the operation of the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland to further its mission;

(4) acquire suitable quarters in the State;

(5) keep proper records of its funds and accounts; and

(6) report annually to the Governor, and subject to § 2-1246 of the State Government Article, the General Assembly, and the chair of the Joint Audit Committee on the condition and operations of the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, including a thorough discussion of its programs and the participation of the blind community in these programs.

Powers

(i) The Board may:

(1) apply that portion of the endowment fund and annual income that the Board considers expedient to establish training and employment centers in any part of the State and to open a store for the sale of articles manufactured by blind individuals;

(2) extend the benefits of the training and employment centers and the store to blind adults of the State who do not reside in institutions on any terms and under any regulations that the Board prescribes;

(3) generally supervise and control the training and employment centers;

(4) acquire and hold real, personal, and mixed property;

(5) sue and be sued;

(6) make, use, and alter a seal;

(7) appoint a corporate secretary and other necessary employees and set their compensation; and

(8) establish, maintain, direct, and supervise each matter concerning the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, including the purchase of any machinery and materials that the Board considers suitable and necessary and the barter or exchange of articles or manufactures entrusted to the Board for disposal.

Audit

(j) The Board shall be audited annually.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007.

[FN1] COMAR 23.02.01.01 et seq.

 

§ 7-704. Rights of individuals with disabilities

 Public places

(a) Individuals with disabilities, the parents of a minor child with a disability, and service animal trainers who are accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal have the same right as individuals without disabilities to the full and free use of the roads, sidewalks, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.

Public accommodations and conveyances

(b)(1) Individuals with disabilities, the parents of a minor child with a disability, and service animal trainers who are accompanied by

an animal being trained or raised as a service animal are entitled to full and equal rights and privileges with respect to common carriers and other public conveyances or modes of transportation, places of public accommodations, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to any conditions and limitations of general application established by law.H

(2) The failure of a blind or visually impaired pedestrian to carry a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip, or an individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability to use a service animal wearing an orange license tag or orange collar and on a leash, or to use a service animal in a place, accommodation, or conveyance listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection does not constitute contributory negligence per se.

Housing accommodations

(c)(1) This subsection does not apply to any accommodations or single family residence in which the occupants offer for compensation not more than one room.

(2) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who is accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal is entitled to the same access as other members of the general public to housing accommodations in the State, subject to any conditions and limitations of general application established by law.

(3) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who has, obtains, or may wish to obtain a service animal or an animal to be trained or raised as a service animal is entitled to full and equal access to housing accommodations.

(4) An individual with a disability, a parent of a minor child with a disability, or a service animal trainer who is accompanied by a service animal or an animal being trained or raised as a service animal may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal, but the individual may be liable for damages to the premises or facilities that the service animal causes.

Credits

Added by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007. Amended by Acts 2007, c. 241, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2007; Acts 2008, c. 594, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2008; Acts 2008, c. 595, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2008; Acts 2012, c. 305, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012.

 

§ 7-705. Service animals

In general

(a) The following individuals have all the same rights and privileges conferred by law on other individuals:

(1) a blind or visually impaired pedestrian using a service animal and not carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip;

(2) an individual with a disability and a parent of a minor child with a disability using a service animal not wearing an orange license tag or orange collar and on a leash;

(3) an individual with a disability and a parent of a minor child with a disability using a service animal in a place, accommodation, or conveyance listed in § 7-704(b) of this subtitle; and

(4) a service animal trainer who is accompanied by an animal that is being trained as a service animal.
Mobility impaired individual accompanied by a service animal

(b) This section does not require a physical modification of any place or vehicle in order to admit an individual with a disability or any other individual authorized under this subtitle to use a service animal who is accompanied by a service animal.
Rights of service animal trainer; exception

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a service animal trainer may be accompanied by an animal that is being trained as a service animal in any place where an individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal.

(2) An animal being trained as a service animal and accompanied by a service animal trainer may be excluded from a place described in paragraph (1) of this subsection if admitting the animal would create a clear danger of a disturbance or physical harm to an individual in the place.
Extra compensation prohibited; liability

(d)(1) An individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal specially trained for that purpose in a place, accommodation, or conveyance listed in § 7-704(b) of this subtitle may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal, but the individual may be liable for any damages to the premises or facilities caused by the service animal.

(2) A service animal trainer who is accompanied by an animal that is being trained as a service animal may not be required to pay extra compensation for the animal, but the service animal trainer organization that certifies the service animal may be liable for any personal injuries or damages to the premises or facilities caused by the service animal.
Violations; penalties

(e)(1)(i) A person may not deny or interfere with the admittance of a service animal that accompanies an individual with a disability or a parent of a minor child with a disability in violation of this section.

(ii) A person who violates subparagraph (i) of this paragraph is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 for each offense.

(2)(i) A person may not deny or interfere with the admittance of an animal being trained as a service animal that accompanies a service animal trainer.

(ii) Subject to subsection (c)(2) of this section, a person who violates subparagraph (i) of this paragraph is subject to a fine not exceeding $25 for each offense.

Credits
Added by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007. Amended by Acts 2007, c. 241, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2007; Acts 2008, c. 594, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2008; Acts 2008, c. 595, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2008.

 

 

§ 7-706. Construction

Pedestrian's right-of-way

(a) This subtitle does not affect § 21-511 of the Transportation Article as to the right-of-way of a blind, deaf, or hard of hearing pedestrian crossing a highway.

Housing accommodations

(b) This subtitle does not require a person who rents or leases housing accommodations to modify the person's property or provide a higher degree of care for a blind or visually impaired individual than for an individual without those disabilities.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007.

 

§ 7-707. Violations; injunction

Violations

(a)(1) A person may not deny or interfere with admittance to or enjoyment of a public place, accommodation, or conveyance described in § 7-704 of this subtitle or otherwise interfere with the rights of a blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing individual under this subtitle.

(2) A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 for each offense.

Injunction

(b) In addition to any other remedy provided under the Code for a violation of this subtitle, a person may maintain a civil action for injunctive relief against another person who denies or interferes with admittance to or enjoyment of a public place, accommodation, or conveyance described in § 7-704 of this subtitle or otherwise interferes with the rights of a blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing individual under this subtitle.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007. Amended by Acts 2007, c. 241, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2007.

 

§ 7-708. Professional training programs to include rights of individuals with service animals

Any organization or agency that requires a professional training program for the following individuals shall include a segment concerning the rights of individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals:

(1) first responders;

(2) emergency shelter operators; and

(3) 9-1-1 operators.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, c. 241, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2007.

 

§ 7-709. White Cane Safety Day

The Governor shall take suitable public notice of each October 15 as White Cane Safety Day by issuing a proclamation that:

(1) comments on the significance of the white cane;

(2) calls on the public to observe the White Cane Law under §§ 7-704 through 7-707 of this subtitle and to take precautions necessary for the safety of blind and visually impaired individuals;

(3) reminds the public of the policies with respect to blind and visually impaired individuals and urges cooperation with the policies;

(4) emphasizes the need for awareness of the presence of blind and visually impaired individuals in the community and the need to keep roads, sidewalks, public accommodations, public buildings, public facilities, other public places, and other places to which the public is invited safe and functional for those individuals; and

(5) offers assistance to blind and visually impaired individuals on appropriate occasions.

CREDIT(S)

Added as Human Services § 7-708 by Acts 2007, c. 3, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2007. Renumbered as Human Services § 7-709 by Acts 2007, c. 241, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2007.

 

Transportation. Title 21. Vehicle Laws--Rules of the Road. Subtitle 5. Pedestrians' Rights and Rules.

§ 21-511. Blind, deaf or mobility impaired pedestrians

Driver of vehicle required to yield right-of-way to blind, deaf, or mobility impaired pedestrians

(a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to:

(1) A blind or partially blind pedestrian using a guide dog or carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color (with or without a red tip);

(2) A deaf or hearing impaired pedestrian accompanied by a guide dog; or

(3) A mobility impaired individual crossing a roadway while using any of the following mobility-assisted devices:

(i) A manual or motorized wheelchair;

(ii) A motorized scooter;

(iii) Crutches; or

(iv) A cane.

Persons not blind or partially blind prohibited from using or carrying white cane

(b) A person who is not blind or partially blind may not use or carry a white cane, a cane that is white tipped with red, or a chrome, nickel, aluminum, or other reflecting or shining metal cane, in the manner described in subsection (a)(1) of this section.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1977, c. 14, § 2, eff. July 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1978, c. 929; Acts 1979, c. 565; Acts 1980, c. 340; Acts 1991, c. 116; Acts 1994, c. 179, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1994; Acts 1997, c. 329, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.

 

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