Thursday, September 21, 2006

Federal Complaint About Monkey's Therapy/Assistance Role

Did you read about Debby Rose, the Springfield, MO woman who has filed a complaint with the federal government against the local health department? The reason for her complaint is that the health officials have ruled that her monkey is a therapy animal, not an assistance animal as she alleges, and has disallowed her access to establishments that serve or handle food.

According to the article in the Springfield News Leader:
“Rose said her monkey, Richard, is a service animal that helps her cope with a debilitating anxiety disorder, which includes a racing heart, high blood pressure and panic attacks in certain situations -- particularly public activities. Richard helps relieve that and, according to the Americans With Disabilities Act, she said, he should be allowed into public food places.”

“Director of Health Kevin Gipson maintained the health department's position that, according to its interpretation of ADA law, the monkey is a therapy animal or a pet -- not a service animal — and therefore not allowed in food establishments. According to health department research, "a service animal by definition has to perform a physical function for that person," Gipson said.”

“Gipson said he would reverse the decision if the federal government says Rose's monkey is a service animal. He encouraged Rose to file a complaint.”

This difference in opinion is exactly what I was writing about in an earlier post and to make certain that your school has a policy in place regarding assistance animals as well as therapy animals. Service animals do not always come in the canine variety. Don’t forget that just a couple of years ago a few miniature horses were trained to function as guides for blind people.

If interested, the full article about the woman’s allegation is at
the Springfield News Leader web site.


Anonymous said...

this monkey attacked me

Ron Graham said...

If what you say is true, I sure hate to hear that, both for you and the monkey’s handler.

However, being you chose to post anonymously and did not provide any personal information, there is no way to prove your claim one way or the other. Hence, I will provide no further commentary on your allegation.