A Monkey in Wal-Mart
Springfield, MO - A southwest Missouri woman has sued Wal-Mart, local health officials and Cox Health Systems, claiming they discriminated against her and her monkey named Richard. Debby Rose said in the lawsuit that the 10-year-old bonnet macaque (muh-KAK') helps curb a social anxiety disorder that can cause her to have panic attacks in public.
The Department of Justice is currently adjusting the Americans with Disabilities Act due to people like Rose.
Rose's lawsuit contends the Springfield-Greene County Health Department lacked the authority to decide that Richard is not a service animal under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Health officials in 2006 sent letters to restaurants and grocery stores, advising them not to let Rose in with the monkey. Rose also alleges she was denied access to Cox Health Systems facilities.
How the ADA treats service and therapy animals is serious business. If a dog or exotic animal qualifies as a "service" or "therapy" animal, the owner and his pet receive special privileges, among them, access into public areas where other pets are not allowed. Guess what kind of dog owners are trying to push their dogs into the service/therapy area? Pit bull owners.
07/20/08: Service and Therapy Animals: Changes to the ADA