California statutes of 1968, Chapter 461, Part 2.5 of California Civil Code, Sections 54 through 54.7, and Sections 55 and 55.1, amended 1969, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1989
California law guarantees a blind person the legal right to be accompanied by a specially trained dog guide in all public accommodations and on all public transportation. Also guaranteed is the right of a dog guide user to equal availability to commercial housing, but the landlord is not required to modify the premises or to maintain a higher standard of care than he provides other tenants. No extra charge can be levied by a public accommodation, common carrier, or landlord because of the dog guide’s presence, and the dog guide user is liable for any property damage caused by the dog.
For purposes of California State income tax, all costs for the maintenance of a dog guide are deductible as medical expenses. Public accommodations include hotels, motels, restaurants, stores, places of resort and recreation, and all other places to which the public is invited. Zoos are the only exception, but if a zoo excludes dog guides, it must provide adequate kennel area for housing dog guides, and must provide a sighted escort, if the dog guide user is not accompanied by a sighted person. (Sect. 54.1, 54.7) Common carriers or public transportation include airplanes, trains taxis, buses, and all other forms of transportation offered for public use. (Sect. 54.1) Housing includes all property offered for rent or use, except private single family dwellings of no more than one room for rent. (Sect. 54.1) Violation: The above, enumerated rights are enforceable under the provisions of the California Civil Rights Code. The prevailing party in the action shall be entitled to actual damages and any amount, as may be determined by a jury, or the court sitting without a jury, up to a maximum of three times the amount of actual damages, but in no case less than a thousand dollars and attorney’s fees. (Sect 54.3, 55, 55.1)