Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) introduced a bill Tuesday that would protect all guide, signal, and service dogs whether they are on or off-duty. Dogs attacked while “on-duty” are protected by the state, however off-duty dogs and their owners receive no such guarantee.
“Guide, signal and service dogs need to be protected if they are to perform their duties appropriately. These are the animals whose life’s work revolves around protecting us. The least we can do for them is ensure that both they and their owners are properly cared for in a time of need” said Assemblyman Lackey in response to the need for this bill.
State law says that any dog owner who allows their dog to injure or kill another dog can be charged with a misdemeanor. This meager attempt to look out for the good of the disabled community offers no protection for dogs that are not currently dispensing their duties. AB 169 protects both people in the disabled community and their guide dogs; people like Nancy and her service animal Paisley. While in a park relieving herself, Paisley was viciously attacked by two dogs off of their leashes. According to Nancy, she and her guide dog were traumatized and suffered countless consequences from the attack. Similarly, the owner of the dogs off-leash was never held responsible and Nancy and Paisley were left to look out for themselves.
Without the support of their guide dog, someone who relies on a dog to accomplish everyday tasks will be rendered helpless. A guide dog instills confidence, ensures protection, and gives freedom back to someone affected by a disability. AB 169 advocates for the protection of these dogs and their owners and holds the perpetrators accountable with restitution payments.
Assemblyman Lackey proudly represents the 36th Assembly District, which contains portions of Kern, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, including the communities of Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Quartz Hill, Acton, Boron, Littlerock, Pearblossom, Mojave, Rosamond, California City, Phelan and Piñon Hills.
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