United States of America
Guide Dog Access Legislation

The United States of America was the first country to pass laws protecting the right of blind individuals to enter public establishments, and to ttravel on all modes of public transportation accompanied by a guide dog. The first of these were passed in the middle part of the 20th Century. Prior to the increased legislative activities of state affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind The Seeing Eye, and other guide dog schools and many individual guide dog handlers initiated the effort to have guide dogs welcomed in public facilities. During the 1960s and to the present the National Federation of the Blind has played a lead roll in promulgating legislation to guarantee these rights with the adoption of it's Model White Cane Law. Many consider this piece of legislation a verritable Bill of Rights for the Blind. This law exists in whole, or in part in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Due to the increased number of incidents of guide dogs and their handlers being attacked by individuals, or by animals under their control an effort was begun to pass legislation to make it a criminal offense to knowingly injure, or kill a guide dog, and to make it possible for blind individuals whose dogs are harmed or killed in this way to recover punative damages for the loss, retraining, and replacement of their guide dog as well as compensation for lost income, and damages inflicted by such deliberate acts. Several States now have such a law on the books. These include Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington State. The Washington State Law more commonly known as Layla's Law is a model guide dog protection bill on which similar legislation will be based as this law is adopted in other states and by other countries as they adopt such legislation to protect guide, and other assistance dog users dogs from being injured or killed by malicious, persons and irresponsible pet owners. the NFB is working to have this law adopted in those states which do not yet have such legislation enacted.

In recent years the state laws protecting the rights of guide dog users have been strengthened by the passage of Federal Legislation. Several of these laws include provisions of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in Federal Programs. The Federal Air Carrier Access Act, Public Law 99-516 protects the rights of blind persons using guide dogs to be accompanied by such dogs on commercial air liners, and to sit in the seat of their choice. Still more Federal protection for guide dog users is found in the Americans With Disabilities Act, (ADA. passed in 1990. The text of all of these acts that pertains to guide dog access rights appears elsewhere on this web site. To read the text of individual state, or federal statutes select the particular law you wish to read from the table below.

Because many more guide dog users now travel internationally we felt it appropriate to include regulations reguarding the importation of guide dogs to the U.S. Special regulations pertain to Hawaii as Hawaii is the only State that imposes a quarantine on carnivorous animals entering the State. We urge those planning a trip to Hawaii to study these regulations thoroughly to understand the requirements to be met if they wish to bring their guide dog in to Hawaii under the special rules that allow guide dogs and other service animals to enter this state without quarantine. We will add to this archive as new information is obtained and new laws are enacted and older legislation strengthened.

Guide Dog Access Laws

United States Federal Legislation

Guide Dog Access Laws by State