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Kangaroos out as service animals

Kangaroos out as service animals

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Beaver Dam Common Council approved an amendment to the municipal code that redefines a service animal as a dog or miniature horse and not a kangaroo.

As of the amendment’s passing on Monday night, only dogs or miniature horses can accompany an individual—who has a doctor’s approval—in a public area or establishment. The new ordinance gives the police the ability to issue a citation for any animal that isn’t a licensed dog or miniature horse.

There was no discussion among alderpersons.

A month ago, the Administrative Committee recommended the amended ordinance to the Common Council after Maryann Schacht, city attorney, said the amendment is a reaction to a woman who brought a baby kangaroo into a Beaver Dam McDonald’s in February.

The woman who brought her kangaroo into McDonald’s, said the kangaroo was a therapy animal. By her definition, it is similar to a service animal but doesn’t have a specific task. She claimed to be disabled and said she has documentation to bring her kangaroo into public establishments.

She declined to share the name of the doctor who authorized the use of a kangaroo therapy animal.

Schacht said the amended ordinance would comply with Americans with Disabilities Act. As stated in the act, dogs whose only function is to comfort or provide emotional support do not qualify as a service animal.

The ADA defines a service animal as a dog—or in some instances a miniature horse—that has specific training to help a person with a disability. Furthermore, the service animal is not a pet because it has special training to provide the aid.

The act also describes appropriate uses of a service animal with some examples of such guiding a blind person, alerting someone who is deaf and calming a person during an anxiety attack.

The final vote was 14-0 in favor of the amendment.

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