The Oregonian had a story on March 22nd about an Alaskan boy with a miniature horse service animal. Miniature horses as service animals? Well, it turns out the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee is having a public hearing and possible work session tomorrow (March 28) on SB 610 relating to service animals (including miniature horses). Proposed legislation from last year’s session (HB 4053, died in committee) would have added miniature horses to the definition of assistance animals, and this year’s proposed legislation is similar. This session, SB 610 also modifies the definition of assistance animal to include miniature horses:
“To the extent that reasonable modifications can be made, “assistance animal” also means a miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual that directly relate to the disability of the individual.”
In the Department of Justice’s 2010 amendment to implementing title II of the ADA, the definition of service animal only includes dogs (though some states do have broader definitions of service animals). In the Final Rule to Amend the Department of Justice’s Regulation Implementing Title II of the ADA, the DOJ clarifies:
“The rule permits the use of trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations. To allow flexibility in situations where using a horse would not be appropriate, the final rule does not include miniature horses in the definition of “service animal.”
The new ADA regulations do include a more detailed section on miniature horses as service animals, including assessment factors public entities must consider when determining if reasonable modifications can be made.
More information on service animals in Oregon can be found at:
- Oregon’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services has a FAQ page on service animals in places of business
- Fair Housing Council of Oregon has a page on aid animals in housing
- The Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School’s resources page
- The Northwest ADA Center’s page on service animals and service animals rules comparison matrix
You can view our past posts on service animals here.