Lawsuit: you excluded my service monkey

Latest disabled-rights lawsuit alleging exclusion of an emotional comfort/ psychiatric service animal: Debby Rose of Springfield, Mo. is suing Wal-Mart, Cox Health and the county health department over their refusals to let Richard, her macaque monkey, into various food and health settings. Richard assists Ms. Rose with her agoraphobia (fear of public and open places) and panic disorder. County officials sent out a mass mailing warning businesses that admitting monkeys such as Richard to the premises would violate health codes. (Springfield News-Leader; KSPR; Arbroath). Earlier coverage of emotional service animals: May 14, 2006 (airlines grapple with demands to seat large dogs and emotional-support goats); Feb. 28, 2005 (jury awards $314,000 to Royal Oak, Mich. woman over co-op’s no-pets policy); Oct. 18, 2005 (ferret in university dorm); July 12, 2005 (frequent-filing Californian); May 5, 2005 (Seattle grocery store owner fined $21,000); Oct. 25, 2004 (if you want to bring your pet into a San Francisco restaurant, get a note from your doctor); Dec. 2, 2004; Jul. 9, 1999 (Seattle clothing store owner made to pay fine and undergo re-education for not welcoming shaggy dog).


  • Sorry, animals are not people. Although I do know some people who live like animals, I am not ready to share my restaurant table with a monkey.

  • Why is it that these “service animals” seem to run toward, ummm, unusual choices? Monkeys? Ferrets? GOATS!?!

    I’m getting a vision here. I think I know the type. Your average “service animal” user is the passive agressive sort. The kind of person who insists the world is out to get them at all times. And the animal provides the opportunity for aggression: you are required to put up with my animal, or I sue you.

    And that’s why the goats and the ferrets – more aggression is required and expected and possible when you’re trying to bring a goat onto an airplane. And that’s just what they’re looking for.

  • She will win. The law is quite clear.

  • She will win. The law is quite clear.

    The law states that for an animal to be a “service animal” and be covered by the ADA, the animal must “be individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.”

    In other words, the animal must perform an act that the disabled person cannot. (ie, a seeing eye dog that “sees” for the blind.)

    The monkey in question performs no such services.

    As such, the monkey is a “companion animal” and not covered by the ADA.

    From one of the cited articles, “Rose says Richard helps curb her debilitating social anxiety disorder — which can cause her to have panic attacks in public..” Clearly that is not a “service” by any stretch of the imagination.

    Once again, citing the article, “Her lawsuit contends the Springfield-Greene County Health Department had no authority to decide that Richard is not a service animal under the Americans With Disabilities Act and, therefore, is not allowed in food establishments.”

    In other words, Rose believes that a governmental agency does not have the authority to make a decision that is contrary to what she believes.

    Wal-Mart and the other businesses were relying on the ruling from the Health Department that the animal was not a service animal as defined under the ADA and therefore not allowed the protection under that law. They should not be held accountable for (a) following the guidelines sent out by the government and (b) following the law when the monkey does not meet the requirements of the ADA.

  • This is one of the reasons I’m against the ADA in general. Obviously my opinion is libertarian and not mainstream. Everytime someone gains special rights, everyone else loses them. If I own a store, I should be able to exclude anybody for any reason. If my business suffers, its on me.

  • […] Continuing our theme, Frances Woodard has now lodged a complaint against the public transit authority in Canada’s capital city for barring the diminutive, weasel-like predator whose companionship, according to her psychiatrist, helps her stave off panic attacks. “A letter from OC Transpo customer relations sent in May said the decision was a result of fears about allergic reactions and phobias from other passengers and reactions from other animals, such as guide dogs.” (CBC News, Jul. 23). Monday’s post on the “service monkey” lawsuit from Springfield, Mo. is here. […]

  • Upon first glance at the headline in my RSS reader made me think this was against Suburban Auto Group:

  • Tom, what if your very smart and with-it child was in a wheelchair and couldn’t get to the playground at recess? And you spent six years trying to get the school to do $25,000 worth of work to fix it? And you even raised the money but they wouldn’t give permission? And during that time they spent at least $15 million on athletic facilities? And they have several million dollars in their reserve account? Would you get a lawyer? Would you be glad to have the ADA? Remember–private schools don’t have to take your child in the wheelchair, so your only choice is the public school. What would Tom do? What’s the libertarian position here? Is it just that disabled children don’t get to participate?

  • […] some folks get memos at work like this; on location, at the pt job we’ve been getting memos on “service monkeys”.  The gist of the WORD is “NO monkeys in the house, AND if […]

  • To ALL of you who JUST-DON’T-GET-IT,
    BE GRATEFUL for the outstanding health that you, each of your family members and each of your friends and their family members… currently have, and PRAY that you never gain an understanding of these issues by being forced into a similar situation.
    I suggest that you educate yourselves to that understanding rather than learning through direct experience as others have.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, which administers the ADA as it pertains to public businesses,

    “Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or promote emotional wellbeing are not service animals.”

    Next year they’ll be publishing an update to 28 CFR 36.104 which defines “service animal” under the ADA The new wording will exclude exotic animals by adding the following:

    “The term service animal does not include wild animals (including nonhuman primates born in captivity), reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including any breed of horse, miniature horse, pony, pig, or goat), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents.”

    Whether she wins or not under the current wording (and I doubt she will) it will not matter come next year. She’ll still have to leave her monkey at home when she goes out to eat.

  • She will win and if they make it where monkeys are not under the law than many of disabled people will be out of luck! Monkeys are the main animal used for helping hands,and monkeys can do more for people than dogs can.A dog can not pick up things and pu straws in your mouth.As for eating in a resturant with a monkey well they are cleaner than most kids and have to have as many shots as kids.

  • Does anyone know if California will continue to protect non dog or cat “comfort animals” in light of the ADA specifically excluding them next year?