Lawsuit Focuses on Ohio Service Horse

A Miniature Horse used as a service animal is at the center of a lawsuit involving the city of Blue Ash, Ohio; a disabled child; and a fair housing organization.

Elizabeth Brown, executive director of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Housing Opportunities Made Equal, said the agency, along with Ingrid Anderson, filed a federal lawsuit against the Blue Ash on Feb. 18 on grounds that the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by classifying a Miniature Horse belonging to Anderson's daughter as livestock. Under ADA rules, a trained service horse can be used as an alternative to service dogs in situations where the use of equids would be appropriate.

Brown said the case involves a 13-year-old girl with multiple illnesses who uses the animal to get exercise and spend time outdoors.

“The child uses the horse like a live walker,” Brown said. “She is also unable to get up unless the horse is standing there.”

The horse is a trained service animal and responds to the girl's voice commands, Brown said.

In a written statement, city of Blue Ash public relations coordinator Emily Schaffer said Anderson previously failed to dispute city council and Hamilton County Municipal Court findings which denied the Miniature Horse service animal status. More recently, the city received numerous complains about the animal and others residing at Anderson's home, Schaffer's statement said.

“As demonstrated by the complaints Blue Ash and the health department have received, the presence of these farm animals creates a direct threat to the health and safety of the neighboring individuals,” the statement said. “The city of Blue Ash will continue to vigorously enforce its ordinances for the benefit of the greater community.”

The case remains pending.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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