Florida Statute 413.08

Rights of an individual with a disability; use of a service animal; discrimination in public employment or housing accommodations; penalties.--

 

(1)  As used in this section and s.413.081,the term:

 

(a)  "Housing accommodation" means any real property or portion thereof which is used or occupied, or intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence, or sleeping place of one or more persons, but does not include any single-family residence, the occupants of which rent, lease,

or furnish for compensation not more than one room therein.

 

(b)  "Individual with a disability" means a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or otherwise physically disabled. As used inthis paragraph, the term:

 

1.  "Hard of hearing" means an individual who has suffered a permanent hearing impairment that is severe enough to necessitate the use of amplification devices to discriminate speech sounds in verbal communication.

 

2.  "Physically disabled" means any person who has a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

 

(c)  "Public accommodation" means a common carrier, airplane, motor vehicle, railroad train, motor bus, streetcar, boat, or other public conveyance or mode of transportation; hotel; lodging place; place of public accommodation, amusement, or resort; and other places to which the general public is invited,

subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

 

(d)  "Service animal" means an animal that is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The tasks may include, but are not limited to,

guiding a person who is visually impaired or blind, alerting a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, pulling a wheelchair, assisting with mobility or balance, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, retrieving objects, or performing other special tasks. A service animal is not a pet.

 

(2)  An individual with a disability is entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges in all public accommodations.

This section does not require any person, firm, business, or corporation, or any agent thereof, to modify or provide any vehicle, premises, facility, or service to a higher degree of accommodation than is required for a person not so disabled.

 

(3)  An individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal in all areas of a public accommodation that the public or customers are normally permitted to occupy.

 

(a)  Documentation that the service animal is trained is not a precondition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. A public accommodation may ask if an animal is a service animal or what tasks the animal has been trained to perform in order to determine the difference between

a service animal and a pet.

 

(b)  A public accommodation may not impose a deposit or surcharge on an individual with a disability as a precondition to permitting a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if a deposit is routinely required for pets.

 

(c)  An individual with a disability is liable for damage caused by a service animal if it is the regular policy and practice of the public accommodation to charge nondisabled persons for damages caused by their pets.

 

(d)  The care or supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the individual owner. A public accommodation is not required to provide care or food or a special location for the service animal or assistance with removing animal excrement.

 

(e)  A public accommodation may exclude or remove any animal from the premises, including a service animal, if the animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others. Allergies and fear of animals are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to an individual with a

service animal. If a service animal is excluded or removed for being a direct threat to others, the public accommodation must provide the individual with a disability the option of continuing access to the public accommodation without having the service animal on the premises.

 

(4)  Any person, firm, or corporation, or the agent of any person, firm, or corporation, who denies or interferes with admittance to, or enjoyment of, a public accommodation or otherwise interferes with the rights of an individual with a disability or the trainer of a service animal while engaged in the

training of such an animal pursuant to subsection (8), commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

 

(5)  It is the policy of this state that an individual with a disability be employed in the service of the state or political subdivisions of the state, in the public schools, and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds, and an employer may not refuse employment to such a person on the basis of the disability alone, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the satisfactory performance of the work involved.

 

(6)  An individual with a disability is entitled to rent, lease, or purchase, as other members of the general public, any housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or other compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

 

(a)  This section does not require any person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real property for compensation to modify her or his property in any way or provide a higher degree of care for an individual with a disability than for a person who is not disabled.

 

(b)  An individual with a disability who has a service animal or who obtains a service animal is entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this section, and such a person may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal. However, such a person is liable for any damage done to the premises or to another person on the premises by such an animal. A housing accommodation may request proof of compliance with vaccination requirements.

 

(7)  An employer covered under subsection (5) who discriminates against an individual with a disability in employment, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the satisfactory performance of the work involved, or any person, firm, or corporation, or the agent of any person, firm, or corporation,

providing housing accommodations as provided in subsection (6) who discriminates against an individual with a disability, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.775.083.

 

(8)  Any trainer of a service animal, while engaged in the training of such an animal, has the same rights and privileges with respect to access to public facilities and the same liability for damage as is provided for those persons described in subsection (3) accompanied by service animals.

 

History.--s. 1, ch. 25268, 1949; s. 1, ch. 61-217; s. 361, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 71-276; s. 1, ch. 73-110; s. 1, ch. 74-286; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 19, ch. 77-259; s. 178, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 82-111; s. 73, ch. 83-218; s. 60, ch. 85-81; s. 1, ch. 87-312; s. 1, ch. 89-317; s. 1, ch. 90-8; s. 1, ch. 91-94; s. 1, ch. 93-18; s. 57, ch. 97-103; s. 1, ch. 98-19; s. 3, ch. 2002-176; s. 1, ch. 2005-63.

 

413.081  Interference with or injury to a service animal; penalties; restitution.--

 

(1)  A person who, with reckless disregard, interferes with, or permits a dog that he or she owns or is in the immediate control of to interfere with, the use of a service animal by obstructing, intimidating, or otherwise jeopardizing the safety of the service animal or its user commits a misdemeanor of the second degree for the first offense and a misdemeanor of the first degree for each subsequent offense, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

 

(2)  A person who, with reckless disregard, injures or kills, or permits a dog that he or she owns or is in the immediate control of to injure or kill, a service animal commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

 

(3)  A person who intentionally injures or kills, or permits a dog that he or she owns or is in the immediate control of to injure or kill, a service animal commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

(4)(a)  A person who is convicted of a violation of this section, in addition to any other penalty, must make full restitution for all damages that arise out of or are related to the offense, including incidental and consequential damages incurred by the service animal's user.

 

(b)  Restitution includes the value of the service animal; replacement and training or retraining expenses for the service animal and the user; veterinary and other medical and boarding expenses for the service animal; medical expenses for the user; and lost wages or income incurred by the user during any period that the user is without the services of the service animal.

 

History.--s. 2, ch. 2002-176; s. 2, ch. 2005-63.