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S.F. No. 2646 - Service Animals (First Engrossment)
Author: Senator Justin D. Eichorn
Prepared By: Kenneth P. Backhus, Senate Counsel (651/296-4396)
Date: March 9, 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.

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 federal Americans with Disabilities Act definition in the Code of Federal Regulations.  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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