Many Texans with disabilities depend on individually trained assistance animals to help in daily tasks. These animals guide people who are blind, alert individuals who are deaf or pull people in wheelchairs. When an assistance animal is injured or killed, the person with a disability not only loses the benefits of the animal's assistance but experiences an economic loss. A new law on assistance animals provides specific penalties if a person or a person's dog attacks an assistance animal, and requires restitution for any veterinary or medical bills and the cost of replacing or retraining an assistance animal. The cost of an assistance animal and services from an organization that trains assistance animals can range from $10,000 to $60,000.
New Protections for Assistance Animals
An assistance animal is protected from
assault, harassment, interference,
death, or injury in any way from a
person or an animal.
A person is responsible if the person or
an animal owned by the person
intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
attacks, injures, or kills an assistance
Penalty for Harm of Assistance Animals
If you or your animal harms an assistance animal the penalties are:
- Attacks (class A misdemeanor, fine up to $4,000),
- Injures (state jail felony, 180 days and up to $10,000), or
- Kills (felony of the third degree, 2 to 10 years and up to $10,000).