Friday, June 24, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Got a Fake Service Animal? Hawaii Civil Rights Commission Lawyers Can Help
By News Release @ 9:51 PM :: 4617 Views :: Health Care, Law Enforcement

STATE CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION AND DISABILITY ACCESS BOARD CAUTION ABOUT NEW SERVICE ANIMAL LAW

News Release from HCRC, July 17, 2018

HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) and the Disability Communication Access Board (DCAB) are joining in a public education effort to caution against a misreading of a newly enacted law to the detriment of the rights of persons with disabilities under state and federal fair housing laws.

On July 10, 2018, S.B. No. 2461 became law without Governor Ige’s signature. The newly enacted Act 217 establishes a civil penalty for “fraudulently representing a dog as a service animal.”

Neither the HCRC nor DCAB will have enforcement jurisdiction over this new law, but both want to avoid confusion that it could cause, conflicting with state and federal laws that protect persons with disabilities.

“The bill is meant to discourage persons, including persons with a disability, from representing their animals as ‘service animals’ in order to request access when animals or pets are otherwise prohibited,” said HCRC Executive Director William Hoshijo. “However, under both state and federal fair housing laws, a person with a disability has the right to request a reasonable accommodation that is not limited to the use of a service animal, but may more broadly request the use of an assistance animal that works, assists, provides emotional support, or performs tasks for a person with disability.’

“The use of an assistance animal as reasonable accommodation in housing is not governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), nor is it affected by this new law.”

DCAB Executive Director Francine Wai explained the distinction between service animals and assistance animals:

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs access to government services and public accommodations and permits people to bring service animals into locations where pets are not permitted. For the purposes of the ADA, the US Department of Justice has defined “service animals” as dogs (and miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for persons with disabilities. The ADA definition of service animals expressly excludes comfort or support animals that are not trained to perform tasks.

“Under the ADA, when an individual with a service animal comes to a government office or a business with a service animal, if the individual’s disability and the service the animal provides is not obvious, only two limited inquiries are allowed by law: 1) whether the dog is a service animal required because of a disability; and, 2) what work or task the dog has been trained to perform. Pursuant to U.S. Department of Justice guidance, no other inquiry or request for documentation or proof is allowed.

“However, housing law is different. The Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and equivalent state law is broader. Those laws provide for accommodations for “assistance animals” which are animals that work, assist, provide emotional support, or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Assistance animals include service animals, but can also include support animals, therapy animals, and comfort animals. A certain level of documentation may be appropriate in housing situations.

Hoshijo and Wai both expressed concern that although the new civil penalty will not directly affect rights and obligations under state and federal fair housing laws, it could cause confusion and chill the exercise of rights under those laws.

State law should not encourage unlawful inquiries of persons who attempt to access government offices or businesses accompanied by a service animal, as is their right under the ADA, whether those inquiries are made by staff, agents, or third party proxies. Neither should this law inhibit or restrict people with disabilities from seeking an accommodation in a housing context with an assistance animal.

The Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing, and will enforce, state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-funded services. The Disability and Communication Access Board is a statewide Board whose mission is to advocate and promote the full integration, independence, equal access, and quality of life for persons with disabilities in society.

If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination because of your race, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, religion, sex, including gender identity, or other prohibited bases, contact the HCRC at: telephone (808) 586-8636, or email DLIR.HCRC.INFOR@hawaii.gov. For more information, go to the HCRC webpage at: http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/.

To learn more about legislation, rules, policies, procedures, and plans relating to persons with disabilities and their civil rights or service needs, contact DCAB at: telephone (808) 586-8121, or email dcab@doh.hawaii.gov. For more information, go to the DCAB webpage at: http://health.hawaii.gov/dcab/.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT