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Sixth Circuit rejects summary disposition of prohibition on "service horse" in city

The City of Blue Ash attempted to prohibit keeping horses in the city limits.  The plaintiffs sued, arguing that their daughter's individually-trained "miniature service horse" assisted in mobility and must be reasonably accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The City argued that to qualify under the ADA, an "animal must be needed in all aspects of daily life or outside the house..."  A trial judge agreed.

The Appellate panel reversed, holding that fact issues remained to be resolved, since an individually trained animal that performs work or tasks for a disabled person may qualify under the ADA without being needed for all aspects of the disabled person's life.  The higher court did reject the suggestion of intentional discrimination, however, pointing out that City officials were motivated not by malice but rather in response to citizen complaints.

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