Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1009. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) The term “blind person” means, and the term “blind” refers to, a person who is totally blind, has impaired vision of not more than 20/200 visual acuity in the better eye and for whom vision cannot be improved to better than 20/200, or who has loss of vision due wholly or in part to impairment of field vision or to other factors which affect the usefulness of vision to a like degree.

(2) The term “deaf person” means a person who is totally deaf or a person with hearing impairment that severely interferes with his or her ability to hear environmental noises.

(3) The term “guide dog” means a dog that is specially trained to assist a blind or deaf person and one which a blind or deaf person relies on for assistance.

(4) The term “persons with physical or mental disabilities” refers to an individual who has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the ability of one to assist one’s self, to perform manual tasks, to engage in an occupation, to live independently, to walk, to see, or to hear.

(5) The term “service animal” means an animal, permitted in the District under § 8-1808(h)(1), including a guide dog, that is specially trained to assist a person who meets the definition of persons with physical or mental disabilities, and is one which a person with physical or mental disabilities relies on for disability-related assistance. The term also includes an animal in training by an organization that provides service animals to persons with physical or mental disabilities. The term does not encompass an animal whose sole purpose is to serve as a crime deterrent or that serves solely as a companion.

(6) The term “service animal in training” means an animal that is:

(A) At least 6 months of age;

(B) Undergoing special training to assist persons with physical or mental disabilities;

(C) Accompanied by an experienced service animal trainer; and

(D) Designated as a service animal in training by wearing a harness, backpack, or vest that identifies it as a service animal in training.


(Oct. 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 972, Pub. L. 92-515, § 8; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-144, § 2(d), 27 DCR 4659; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 25(g), 53 DCR 6198; May 22, 2010, D.C. Law 18-146, § 2(c), 57 DCR 2549; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-291, § 2(d), 60 DCR 2351.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-1709.

1973 Ed., § 6-1508.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1002, § 7-1006, and § 7-2502.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-305, in par. (4), substituted “person with a physical disability” for “otherwise physically disabled”.

D.C. Law 18-146 added pars. (5) and (6).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-291 rewrote (4) and (5); and substituted “persons with physical or mental disabilities” for “a person who is blind or has a physical disability” in (6)(B).