Friday, August 30, 2013

Snake not allowed as Emotional Support Animal


The New Bedford Housing Authority recently denied a woman the right to keep a four and a half foot long python in her apartment as an emotional support animal.  While disabled people are often allowed to keep emotional support animals as part of what is called "reasonable accommodation" for their disability, the court found (Clark v. New Bedford Housing Authority, June 28, 2013) that the snake was dangerous in several ways, the woman did not establish that keeping the snake was "a reasonable accommodation for her psychiatric disability",  and it would have been "an undue hardship to grant the requested accommodation of  permitting Complainant to keep her pet snake in her Housing Authority apartment."  Therefore the Housing Authority was not discriminating against the woman by prohibiting her snake.
You can read more about this topic in the Massachusetts Law Libraries web page on Massachusetts Law about Service Animals, as well as our blog on July 30, 2013.