Disability and Animals

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Titlesort descending Summary
Access Now, Inc. v. Town of Jasper, Tennessee Plaintiffs Access Now, Inc. and Pamela Kitchens, acting as parent and legal guardian on behalf of her minor daughter Tiffany brought this action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against defendant Town of Jasper, Tennessee under the ADA after the town denied her request to keep a keep miniature horse as service animal at her residence. The town's ordinance at issue provided that no person shall keep an enumerated animal within 1000 feet of any residence without a permit from the health officer. The Jasper Municipal Court held a hearing and determined that the keeping of the horse was in violation of the code and ordered it removed from the property. On appeal, this Court found that while the plaintiffs contended that the horse helped Tiffany in standing, walking, and maintaining her balance, Tiffany does not have a disability as defined by the ADA and does not have a genuine need to use the horse as a service animal. Further, the Court found that the horse was not a service animal within the meaning of 28 C.F.R. § 36.104 because the animal was not used in the capacity of a service animal and instead was a companion or pet to Tiffany. The plaintiffs' complaint was dismissed with prejudice.
AK - Assistance Animal - Alaska's Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws


The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

AK - Unalaska - Title 12: Animal Control (Chapter: 12.04: Animal Control)


Under this Unalaska, Alaska ordinance, a person who owns a seeing-eye dog, a hearing aid dog, or other aid dog is exempt from the license fees. Furthermore, this ordinance exempts such dogs from provisions that prohibit animals from entering certain places as long as the owner carries proper documentation certified by a recognized aid dog institution.

AL - Assistance Animals - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws


The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

AL - Facility dog - § 12-21-148. Use of certified facility dog in certain legal proceedings. This Alabama law from 2017 covers use of both registered therapy dogs and registered facility dogs in certain legal proceedings. A "registered therapy dog" is defined as "[a] trained emotional support dog that has been tested and registered by a nonprofit therapy dog organization that sets standards and requirements for the health, welfare, task work, and oversight for therapy dogs and their handlers . . ." A "certified facility dog" is defined as "[a] trained working dog that is a graduate of an assistance dog organization, a nonprofit organization that sets standards of training for the health, welfare, task work, and oversight for assistance dogs and their handlers . . ." Both must meet minimum standards including minimum months/years of training, documentation showing graduation from an assistance dog organization, a current health certificate, and proof of at least $500,000 in liability insurance. During trial proceedings, all precautions should be taken to obscure the presence of the dog from the jury.
Anderson v. City of Blue Ash This case stems from a dispute between Plaintiff/Appellant and the city of Blue Ash (City) on whether Plaintiff/Appellant could keep a miniature horse at her house as a service animal for her disabled minor daughter. Plaintiff/Appellant’s daughter suffers from a number of disabilities that affect her ability to walk and balance independently, and the horse enabled her to play and get exercise in her backyard without assistance from an adult. In 2013, the City passed a municipal ordinance banning horses from residential property and then criminally prosecuted plaintiff/appellant for violating it. Plaintiff/Appellant’s defense was that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (“FHAA”), both entitled her to keep the horse at her house as a service animal for her daughter. Rejecting those arguments, the Hamilton County Municipal Court found Plaintiff/Appellant guilty. Plaintiff/Appellant filed suit in federal court arguing that the ADA and FHAA entitled her to keep her horse as a service animal. The district court granted summary judgment to the City, finding that Plaintiff/Appellant's claims were barred by claim and issue preclusion stemming from her Municipal Court conviction. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit found that, because the fact-finding procedures available in a criminal proceeding in municipal court differed substantially from those available in a civil proceeding, Plaintiff/Appellant's conviction had no preclusive effect on this lawsuit. Furthermore, while there was no evidence that the City's actions were motivated by discriminatory intent against the minor daughter or had a disparate impact on disabled individuals, there were significant factual disputes regarding whether the ADA or FHAA required the City to permit Plaintiff/Appellant to keep her miniature horse at her house. The district court's grant of summary judgment to the City on those claims was therefore reversed.
AR - Assistance Animal - Arkansas Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws

The following statute comprises the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog law.

AR - Facility Dog - § 16-43-1002. Certified facility dogs for child witnesses

This statute deals with the use of certified facility dogs for child witnesses. In order to qualify as a certified facility dog, a dog must graduate from an assistance dog organization after receiving at least 2 years of training and passing the same public service access test as a service dog. Certified facility dogs are able to be used by child witnesses (a witness 18 years of age or younger) while testifying at a trial or hearing.

Ascencio v. ADRU Corporation


A woman, who suffers from a disability that is accompanied by deep depression and anxiety, went to a fast food restaurant with her mother and her two service dogs. Upon entering the establishment, the employees refused to serve them, forced them to leave, and retaliated against them by calling the police and threatening them with arrest. The woman and her mother sued the fast food restaurant for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related California statutes. When the fast food restaurant failed to file an answer, the court entered a default judgment against the fast food restaurant; awarded the plaintiffs with damages, court costs and attorney fees; and placed a permanent injunction against the fast food restaurant.

Assistance Animals

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