The Michigan State University College of Law maintains the Animal Legal and Historical Center, as it has since 2002. It’s comprised of a vast digital collection of information about US laws and policies pertaining to animals. It speaks to both legal professionals and laypeople, and also documents the country’s historical and evolving attitude toward animals.
As part of its curating, the Animal Legal and Historical Center’s website has published its Table of State Assistance Animal Laws. It’s a comprehensive look at assistance animal definitions and regulations in each of the 50 states.
Aren’t Assistance Animals Regulated Federally?
Yes, they are. Assistance animal definitions and laws are set federally by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
However, states are free to expand the definitions, rights, and protections of people partnered with assistance animals, provided they don’t in any way contravene federal law. States may also enact their own laws pertaining to assistance animal misrepresentation.
This means that all people with disabilities who are partnered with an assistance animal should research their rights in the state in which they reside, in addition to knowing the federal definitions and laws. In some states, they have more encompassing rights and protections.
More About the Table of State Assistance Animal Laws
The MSU College of Law’s Animal Legal and Historical Center covers a broad range of state-specific information in its Table of State Assistance Animal Laws. In it, you’ll find state-by-state:
- Assistance animal definitions
- Equal access and public accommodation laws
- Driving and pedestrian laws related to assistance animals
- Laws about harassing or interfering with assistance animals
- Licensing laws
- Assistance animal misrepresentation laws
- Links to the original text of laws discussed