SF 341 – Service animals in housing
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission will work with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to develop a verification form for providers to use in written findings. The form can only allow for a “yes” or “no” response as to whether the patient or client has a disability and whether the need for the animal is related to the disability. The form cannot allow for additional detail. The bill conforms Iowa’s definition of “service animals” to the federal definition: dogs and miniature horses only. The substantive portions do not apply to “assistive animals” under chapter 717F, only to “assistance animals” and service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the federal Fair Housing Act.
The bill requires a landlord to waive any restrictions, fees or other charges assessed tenants with pets. A person who intentionally misrepresents an animal as a service animal or service animal in training could be charged with a crime. A person commits this offense if all of these elements are established: for the purpose of obtaining any of the rights or privileges set forth in state or federal law, the person intentionally misrepresents an animal in one’s possession as one’s service animal or service animal in training, or a person with a disability’s service animal or service animal in training whom the person is assisting by controlling; the person was previously given a written or verbal warning that it is illegal to intentionally misrepresent an animal as a service animal or a service animal in training; and the person knows that the animal in question is not a service animal or a service animal in training. The offense is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by confinement for no more than 30 days, or a fine of at least $65 but no more than $625, or by both.
The bill gives owners of real property immunity from liability for injury or damage caused by service animals and service animals in training if the owner believes in good faith that the animal is a service animal or a service animal in training and the person using the animal is a person with a disability, a person assisting a person with a disability by controlling a service animal or a service animal in training, or a person training a service animal in training; and the injury or damage is not caused by the owner’s negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct.
[3/19: 49-0 (Vacant: Danielson)]