Benton City, Washington has told a disabled man that he must get rid of his service horse.
Tim Felton of Benton City, Washington says that the city is denying him the use of his service animal - specifically, a service horse.
Felton's therapy horse is a miniature horse named Fred. Fred helps Felton take the daily walks that his doctor prescribed in order to improve Felton's lung strength and extend his life. Felton falls sometimes, but Fred helps to steady him, sensing when Felton slows and pulling forward to keep Felton on his feet.
Felton has undergone multiple surgeries and has cataracts, two detached retinas, and PTSD. He cannot stand for long periods of time, and cannot see well.
But Fred helps with that. Felton even has a note from a doctor stating that Fred is a guide animal who helps him with stability.
Unfortunately, Benton City doesn't allow horses in residential zones. The city issued Felton a $100 fine for having Fred, demanding that Felton relocate the horse.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Washington Law Against Discrimination, and the Federal Fair Housing Act app guarantee people with disabilities the right to use service horses. Miniature horses are considered service horses when they are trained to perform a specific duty, like Fred has been. Cities are required to make reasonable accommodations for assistance animals.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating the situation as a possible fair housing violation.
Miniature horses are becoming more and more popular as service animals, thanks to their strength and ability to be easily trained. They also have longer lifespans than dogs, allowing them to work with their owner for years longer than service dogs can.
Do you think Fred should be allowed in establishments just like other service animals? Let us know in the comments below.
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