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Massachusetts law about service animals

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on the law of service animals.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.90, s.14A  Protection of blind pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross ways

MGL c.129, s.39C Hearing dog business licensing

MGL c.129, s.39D Hearing dog trainer rights

MGL c.129, s.39F Service dog trainer rights

MGL c.272, s.85B Assistance animals stolen or attacked

MGL c.272, s.98A  Physically handicapped persons with dog guides; public places or conveyances

Federal laws

40 USC 3103 Admission of guide dogs or other service animals accompanying individuals with disabilities

42 USC 12101 et seq. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

49 U.S.C. § 41705 Air carrier access act. Forbids discrimination in air travel on the basis of disability

Federal regulations

14 CFR 382 Nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in air travel

14 CFR 382.117 Must carriers permit passengers with a disability to travel with service animals?

28 CFR 35.104 Service animal, defined. Definition is limited to dogs.

28 CFR 35.136 Service animals. Rules re: service animals. 28 CFR 35.136 (i) provides guidance on the use of miniature horses in state and local gov't services.

28 CFR 36.104 Service animal, Defined. definition is limited to dogs.

28 CFR 36.302 Modifications provides guidance on the use of miniature horses in public accommodations

Web sources

Service Animals Fact Sheet, US Dept. of Justice
"This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations."

Fair Housing Rights of Individuals With Disabilities, Mass. Attorney General
Under "Reasonable Accommodation," page says in part: " M.G.L. c.151B may require that an owner modify his/her "no pets" policy as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability who requires the use of a service or emotional support animal because of the person's disability."

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA, US Dept. of Justice, 2015.
"The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals....This publication provides guidance on the ADA's service animal provisions."

Information About Service Animals, Mass. Attorney General
Common questions and answers about service animals in businesses, taxis and more

Service Animal Definition Matrix: Air Carrier Access Act vs. Americans with Disabilities Act, US Dept. of Transportation. Highlights differences in laws. For example, emotional support animals are service animals under the Air Carrier Access Act, but not under the ADA.

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals: Where are they allowed and under what conditions?, ADA National Network

Print sources



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: April 9, 2018