National Federation of the Blind of Florida

RESOLUTION 2001-2

Criminalizing Attacks on Guide Dogs

WHEREAS the National Federation of the Blind teaches that, with proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance; and

WHEREAS the goal of the Federation is the full integration of the blind into society in terms of equality; and

WHEREAS one of the rights of citizenship is the liberty to travel without fear of obstruction throughout our communities; and

WHEREAS blind citizens who travel with guide dogs have been seriously attacked by other people and their unrestrained animals; and

WHEREAS such attacks have seriously injured, disabled, or killed guide dogs, with little or no legal implications; and

WHEREAS, due to similar attacks on police animals,
legislation has been enacted to protect such animals,
contending that the animal is the extension of the handler;
and

WHEREAS it is equally true that the guide dog is an extension of the blind handler: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLED by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, in convention assembled, this second day of September, 2001, in the city of Tampa, Florida,  that this organization call upon the Florida Legislature to enact legislation that any person or the animal of any person causing physical or psychological harm, temporary or permanent disability, or death to a guide dog commits a felony of the third degree; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such legislation provide for restitution for the full replacement, of the animal or for the full rehabilitation, and training of the animal and handler; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this legislation invoke the speedy trial provisions of state statute for crimes against
the disabled.