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S.F. No. 2646 - Service Animals (Author's Delete-Everything Amendment SCS2646A-2)
Author: Senator Justin D. Eichorn
Prepared By: Kenneth P. Backhus, Senate Counsel (651/296-4396)
Kathleen Pontius, Senate Counsel (651/296-4394)
Date: March 7, 2018


Section 1 contains provisions governing immunity from liability for real property owners who are required by law to provide access to a person using an assistance animal.

Subdivision 1 defines the terms “assistance animal,” “owner,” and “real property.”

Subdivision 2 contains the operative immunity language.  An owner of real property would not be liable for any injury or damage caused by an assistance animal if the owner believes in good faith that the animal is an assistance animal or the individual using the animal represents that it is, and the injury or damage is not caused by negligence of the owner and the owner is not liable under section 347.22.  This is the current law governing dog owner liability and provides that an owner is liable if the dog injures or attacks a person, without provocation.  It includes a person harboring or keeping a dog but the owner is primarily liable.

Language is also included specifying that an owner does not have a duty to determine the existence of an exception to applicable law that would allow the owner to deny access to the real property by a person using an assistance animal.  Under federal law, a housing provider can deny an accommodation request if it determines that the animal will cause a threat to the health and safety of others or damage the provider’s property.

Section 2 prohibits certain specified fraudulent conduct relating to misrepresenting an animal as a service animal. A first-time violation is a petty misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation is a misdemeanor. Defines “service animal” via a cross-reference to the animal cruelty law. Authorizes a notice that may be posted by business owners and the preparation of an educational brochure related to this issue.  


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