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Access Laws for Guide Dog Users: U.S.

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Connecticut

Chapter 435, Sections 46a - 44, 1997, Section 22-345, Section 22-364b; Chapter 943, Section 53-211; Chapter 899, Section 52-175a; Chapter 1, Section 1-1f, Section 10-300

Connecticut statutes guarantee a blind person the legal right to be accompanied by a specially trained dog guide in all public accommodations and on all forms of public transportation. The dog must be in harness and in the direct custody of the individual. Also, a dog guide user has a legal right of access to all housing and public and commercial buildings, and cannot be discriminated against because of his or her dog in renting or purchasing housing or commercial space, including mobile home parks. No extra charge can be levied because of the dog's presence. A landlord, however, is not responsible for modifying the premises or maintaining a higher standard of care than provided other tenants, and the dog guide user is responsible for any damage to property that the dog may cause.

No fee can be charged for licensing a dog guide, but the first time a dog guide is registered, the town clerk should be shown written evidence, such as identification card, that the dog has been specially trained. (Sect. 22-340, Sect. 10-300)

An individual is blind if his central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses, or if his visual acuity is greater than 20/200 but accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision, such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than twenty degrees. (Sect. 1-1f)

Public accommodations include hotels, inns, restaurants, stores, places of amusement, public buildings and any other facility offered to the public. The dog guide shall be in the direct custody of its owner and shall be wearing a harness or orange-colored leash and collar. (Sect. 46a-44)

Public transportation includes trains, buses, and all other modes of transit offered for public use. (Sect. 46a-44)

Housing or property includes publicly assisted housing and commercial property, except two family houses in which the owner or his family reside, or a private dwelling in which the owner lives but also rents rooms. The statute covers mobile home parks, and deals with both sales and rentals. (Sect. 46a-44(b))

No person, except one wholly or partially blind, shall carry or use on any street or highway, or in any other public place, a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red. (Sect. 53-211(a))

Any driver of a vehicle who approaches or comes into the immediate vicinity of a person wholly or partially blind, carrying a white cane, or a white cane tipped with red, or a person being guided by a guide dog, shall reduce speed or stop if necessary to grant the right-of-way to such person. (Sect. 53-211(b))

The owner or keeper of a dog shall restrain and control such dog on a leash when such dog is not on the property of its owner or keeper and is in proximity to a blind, deaf or mobility impaired person accompanied by his guide dog, provided the guide dog is in the direct custody of such blind, deaf or mobility impaired person, is wearing a harness or orange-colored leash and collar which makes it readily-identifiable as a guide dog and is licensed appropriately. (Sect. 22-364b)

The failure of a blind person to use a guide dog or to carry a cane or walking stick which is predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without red tip, shall not be construed as evidence of comparative or contributory negligence in any negligence action. (Sect. 52-175a)

Violation: Violation of the above rights is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor. Penalties can include fines of not more than $100 and/or 60 days imprisonment. (Sect. 46-44c)

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