New York

The following statutes comprise the state’s relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

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New York’s Unlawful Discriminatory Practices law was amended at the very end of 2014. Subdivision 14 of Section 296 now makes it illegal to deny access to a person with a disability:

because he or she is accompanied by a dog that has been trained to work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of such person by a professional guide dog, hearing dog or service dog training center or professional guide dog, hearing dog or service dog trainer, or to discriminate against such professional guide dog, hearing dog or service dog trainer engaged in such training of a dog for use by a person with a disability, whether or not accompanied by the person for whom the dog is being trained.

McKinney’s Executive Law § 296

Previously, the law simply said it was an unlawful discriminatory practice “to discriminate against a blind person, a hearing impaired person or a person with another disability on the basis of his or her use of a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog.” The amendment not only requires that the dog has been professionally trained, but it also extends protection against discrimination to those who are engaged in training such dogs.

Section 47-b of the Civil Rights Law was also amended in late 2014 with respect to service animals. In subsection four, the term “properly harnessed” was changed to “under the control of the person using or training it.” A new subsection 7 also added a definition for “service animal” that mirrors the definition under federal law:

7. “Service dog” means any dog under the control of the person using or training it and that has been or is being individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.

McKinney’s Civil Rights Law § 47-b