Full Statute Name:  Consolidated Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws

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Primary Citation:  MCA 49-4-202 to 49-4-222; 61-8-516 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  January, 2020 Alternate Citation:  MT ST 49-4-202 to 49-4-222; 61-8-516 Historical: 
Summary: The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED. TITLE 49. HUMAN RIGHTS. CHAPTER 4. RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. PART 2. RIGHTS OF THE PHYSICALLY DISABLED.

49-4-201. Repealed by Laws 1983, ch. 239, § 11

49-4-202 . Policy of the state

49-4-203 . Definitions

49-4-204 through 49-4-210 reserved.

49-4-211 . Right to use public places and accommodations

49-4-212 . Access to housing accommodations

49-4-213 . Use of white or metallic-colored canes restricted to the blind

49-4-214 . Right to be accompanied by service animal -- identification for service animals in training

49-4-215 . Penalty for violating rights

49-4-216 . Duty and civil liability of pedestrian or driver approaching blind person

49-4-217 . Penalty for violation of duty or unauthorized use of cane

49-4-221. Misrepresentation of a service animal--complaint--investigation

49-4-222. Misrepresentation of a service animal--misdemeanor--penalty

TITLE 61. MOTOR VEHICLES. CHAPTER 8. TRAFFIC REGULATION. PART 5. PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC.

61-8-516 . Operator of vehicle to yield to blind pedestrian

 

 

TITLE 49. HUMAN RIGHTS. CHAPTER 4. RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. PART 2. RIGHTS OF THE PHYSICALLY DISABLED.

49-4-201. Repealed by Laws 1983, ch. 239, § 11

 

49-4-202. Policy of the state

    It is the policy of the state to encourage and enable the blind, the visually impaired, the deaf, and the otherwise physically disabled to participate fully in the social and economic life of the state and to engage in remunerative employment. The blind, the visually impaired, the deaf, and the otherwise physically disabled must be employed in the state service, the service of the political subdivisions of the state, the public schools, and all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds on the same terms and conditions as the able-bodied, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the performance of the work involved.

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 181, L. 1971; R.C.M. 1947, 71-1304; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 176, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 21, Ch. 407, L. 1993.

 

49-4-203. Definitions

(1) “Housing accommodation” means any real property or portion of real property that is used or occupied or is intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied as the home, residence, or sleeping place of one or more human beings. The term does not include any single-family residence the occupants of which furnish for compensation not more than one room within the residence.

(2) “Service animal” means a dog or miniature horse individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. The term does not include an emotional support animal.

Credits

Enacted 71-1305.1 by Laws 1975, ch. 266, § 5. Amended by Laws 1977, ch. 35, § 2; Revised Code of Montana 1947, 71-1305.1(2); amended by Laws 1997, ch. 394, § 1; amended by Laws 2019, ch. 361, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

49-4-211. Right to use public places and accommodations

    (1) The blind, the visually impaired, and the deaf have the same right as the able-bodied to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.

    (2) The blind, the visually impaired, and the deaf are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of all common carriers, as defined in 69-11-101, and all public accommodations, as defined in 49-2-101, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 181, L. 1971; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 266, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 71-1305(2), (3); amd. Sec. 22, Ch. 177, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 176, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 22, Ch. 407, L. 1993.

 

49-4-212. Access to housing accommodations

    Blind, visually impaired, and deaf persons are entitled to as full and equal access as other members of the general public to any housing accommodation offered for compensation in this state.

History: En. 71-1305.1 by Sec. 5, Ch. 266, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 35, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 71-1305.1(1), (3); amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 176, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 801, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 23, Ch. 407, L. 1993.

 

49-4-213. Use of white or metallic-colored canes restricted to the blind

    No person, except those wholly or partially blind, shall carry or use on any street or highway or in any other public place a cane or walking stick which is white or metallic in color or white or metallic tipped with red.

History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 181, L. 1971; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 266, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 71-1305(1).

 

49-4-214. Right to be accompanied by service animal -- identification for service animals in training

(1) A person with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal or a service animal in training with identification complying with subsection (4) in any of the places mentioned in 49-4-211(2) without being charged extra for the service animal. The person with a disability is liable for any damage done to the property by the animal.

(2) A person with a disability who has a service animal or who obtains a service animal is entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations as provided in 49-2-305 and 49-4-212. The person with a disability may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal but is liable for any damage done to the premises by the service animal.

(3) A person who is training a service animal is entitled to the same rights and assumes the same responsibilities granted to a person with a disability in this section.

(4) For the purposes of this section, a service animal in training shall wear a leash, collar, cape, harness, or backpack that identifies in writing that the animal is a service animal in training. The written identification for service animals in training must be visible and legible from a distance of at least 20 feet.

(5) If a person has a service animal that provides assistance and the person wishes to access the places and accommodations mentioned in 49-4-211 accompanied by the animal in its capacity as a service animal:

(a) the animal must be under the handler's control as required under 28 CFR 35.136 that is in effect as of October 1, 2019; and

(b) the person may be asked by a representative of the place or accommodation:

(i) whether the animal is a service animal that is required because of a disability; and

(ii) to describe the work or task the animal is trained to perform.

(6)(a) If the animal described in subsection (5) is not under the handler's control and the handler has not taken effective action to control the animal or the animal is not housebroken, the handler may be asked to remove the animal from the place or accommodation.

(b) A place or accommodation that asks that an animal be removed from the place or accommodation as provided in subsection (6)(a) shall give the animal's handler the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

(7) If a place or accommodation mentioned in 49-4-211 posts a notice that dogs or other animals are prohibited on the premises, the place or accommodation must also indicate that a person may be accompanied by a service animal subject to the provisions of this chapter.

Credits

Enacted by Laws 1971, ch. 181, § 4. Amended by Laws 1975, ch. 266, § 2; Revised Code of Montana 1947, 71-1306; amended by Laws 1979, ch. 177, § 23; amended by Laws 1981, ch. 176, § 4; amended by Laws 1997, ch. 394, § 2; amended by Laws 2019, ch. 361, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

49-4-215. Penalty for violating rights

    Any person, firm, or corporation or the agent of any person, firm, or corporation who denies or interferes with admittance to or enjoyment of the public facilities enumerated in 49-4-211 or otherwise interferes with the rights of a totally or partially blind, deaf, or otherwise disabled person under 49-4-211 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 266, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 71-1309; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 176, L. 1981.

 

49-4-216. Duty and civil liability of pedestrian or driver approaching blind person

    (1) A pedestrian who is not totally or partially blind or a driver of a vehicle who approaches or comes in contact with a person who is totally or partially blind and is carrying a cane or walking stick predominately white or metallic in color or white tipped with red or is being led by a trained guide dog wearing a harness and walking on either side of or slightly in front of such blind person shall immediately come to a full stop and take such precautions before proceeding as may be necessary to avoid accident or injury to such blind person.

    (2) A driver or pedestrian who fails to take such precautions is liable in damages for any injury caused the totally or partially blind person. A totally or partially blind pedestrian who is not carrying such a cane or using a guide dog in any of the places listed in 49-4-211 has all of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons, and the failure of such a pedestrian to carry such a cane or to use a guide dog in any such place may not be held to constitute or be evidence of contributory negligence.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 181, L. 1971; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 266, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 71-1307; amd. Sec. 24, Ch. 177, L. 1979.

 

49-4-217. Penalty for violation of duty or unauthorized use of cane

    Any person other than a person wholly or partially blind who shall carry a cane or walking stick such as is described in this part, contrary to the provisions of this part, or who shall fail to heed the approach of a person carrying such a cane as is described by this part or who shall fail to come to a full stop when approaching or coming in contact with a person so carrying such a cane or walking stick or being led by a trained guide dog or who shall fail to take precaution against accidents or injury to such person after coming to a stop, as provided for herein, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $25.

History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 181, L. 1971; R.C.M. 1947, 71-1308.

 

49-4-221. Misrepresentation of a service animal--complaint--investigation

(1) If a person knowingly and willfully represents that an animal is a trained service animal by fitting the animal with a leash, collar, cape, harness, backpack, or sign that identifies the animal as a service animal or claims verbally or in writing that the animal is a service animal in order to access the places and accommodations mentioned in 49-4-211 with the animal, and it is found that the animal is not properly trained to provide services required of a service animal, the person may be asked to remove the animal from a place or accommodation as mentioned in 49-4-211 and local law enforcement may be called to investigate.

(2) An animal may be determined to lack the proper training required of a service animal if the animal is not housebroken or the animal is not under the control of the handler and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control the animal.

(3)(a) A representative of a place or accommodation mentioned in 49-4-211 who suspects that an animal is being misrepresented as a service animal to gain entry to the place or accommodation may file a complaint with local law enforcement. The complaint must be written and must state the particulars of the alleged misrepresentation.

(b) A representative may not file a complaint unless the place or accommodation has posted conspicuous public notice that the place or accommodation:

(i) does not allow animals other than service animals; and

(ii) reserves the right to file complaints alleging the misrepresentation of service animals under this section.

(c) The notice required in subsection (3)(b) may include notice of the questions allowed under 49-4-214(5)(b) and that the animal must be housebroken and under the handler's control.

(4) If local law enforcement is called to investigate as provided in subsection (1), written results of the investigation must be provided to the place or accommodation where the instance occurred and to the handler of the animal in question.

Credits

Enacted by Laws 2019, ch. 361, § 3, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

49-4-222. Misrepresentation of a service animal--misdemeanor--penalty

(1) A person who misrepresents a service animal as provided in [section 3] may be found guilty of a misdemeanor if:

(a) the person was previously given a written warning regarding the fact that it is illegal to intentionally misrepresent a service animal; and

(b) the person continued to misrepresent the animal as a service animal in order to gain any of the rights or privileges afforded to a service animal.

(2) A person who violates subsection (1) shall be punished as follows:

(a) for a first offense, a fine of $50;

(b) for a second offense, a fine of not less than $75 or more than $200; and

(c) for a third or subsequent offense, a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000.

(3) In addition to the penalty provided in subsection (1), a person convicted of the offense of misrepresentation of a service animal under subsection (1) may be required to perform community service for an organization that advocates on the behalf of persons with disabilities.

Credits

Enacted by Laws 2019, ch. 361, § 4, eff. Oct. 1, 2019.

 

TITLE 61. MOTOR VEHICLES. CHAPTER 8. TRAFFIC REGULATION. PART 5. PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC.

61-8-516. Operator of vehicle to yield to blind pedestrian

    On a way of the state open to the public, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a blind pedestrian who is carrying a visible white cane or who is accompanied by a guide dog.

History: En. Sec. 9, Ch. 374, L. 2003.

 

 

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