Patty Cooper wants her apartment building to allow her service animal to live with her. But her service animal is not the typical service animal — she has a black and white miniature horse named Earl.
This one-year-old miniature tobiano pinto horse and Cooper, a Vermont resident, have grown attached to each other since she bought him a few months ago.
And now Cooper wants Earl to be her service animal. Cooper has a severe case of celiac disease and she has used a wheelchair since she broke her back for the second time four years ago.
She plans to attach shafts extending from Earl’s harness to her wheelchair. She said, “He’ll be able to pull me back and forth to the bus stop and pull me to town. After he’s trained he’ll be able to go on the bus with me under ADA laws.”
Currently, Earl lives at a farm, but Cooper soon wants Earl to live with her at her apartment. But the nonprofit housing group that she lives at questions if Cooper can provide adequate space and care for this 100-pound miniature horse in her apartment.
Central Vermont Community Land Trust, an organization that provides housing for low and moderate income people, sent Cooper a letter two weeks ago asking questions and expressing concerns about Earl living with Cooper.
The letter asked, “So, can you tell us how you intend to dispose of the pony’s waste? Is the pony housebroken? If he is house-trained, who is going to pick up after him outside? What does this animal require for food? If it is hay and grain, as I suspect, where and how do you plan to store this food so that it will not attract rats or otherwise become a potential health risk to the other residents living in this complex?”
In response to press inquiries, the Land Trust issued a statement last week that said they would carefully review and consider Cooper’s request and would make every effort to try and accommodate her specific needs.
Cooper is confident that everything is going to work out and that Earl will be able to live with her. She said she really wants a horse as a service animal because of the longer life span.
She added, “Earl will live at least another 50 years. I’ll still have him when I’m 100.”
Source: Associated Press