When federal officials clarified what qualifies as a service animal, they were looking to cut down on people exploiting the law. Now, a girl with autism may be an unintended casualty.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice issued new regulations outlining what does and does not qualify as a service animal. Under the changes, animals that merely provide comfort don’t qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Now, officials at the George West Independent School District in Texas are using the new rules to prohibit Colleen Molohon, 17, from bringing her Australian cattle dog, Chili, to school, the girl’s mother says.
Molohon was accompanied by Chili starting in the ninth grade. But at the beginning of last school year the district determined that under the new Justice Department rules the dog was a “comfort animal” and officials said Molohon could no longer bring Chili to class with her.
This week, school officials stood by their decision and said the dog would not be allowed for Molohon’s senior year.
Molohon’s mother insists that Chili qualifies as a service animal and is filing a federal civil rights complaint, reports the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times. To read more click here.