(LegalLaw247.com, August 05, 2013 ) Minneapolis, MN -- Though many people assume that only dogs can become service animals, there is a growing trend in the service animal industry focusing on a different animal. Miniature horses are receiving the specialized training that they need to help disabled individuals, and they are gaining both acceptance and recognition under the law.
In fact, federal law never banned miniature horses from becoming service animals.
"Under federal law," says Joan Quade, an attorney at Barna, Guzy, and Steffen, Ltd., "A service animal is any guard dog, signal dog, or other animal trained to do tasks for an individual with a disability."
The horses are therefore legal service animals in the state of Minnesota, since Minnesota uses federal law to define what does and does not count as a service animal. Training is the key, since several cases in other states have ruled that certain animals have not qualified as service animals due to a lack of training. The ability to do specific tasks which assist the disabled person is also a factor.
Service animal trainers favor miniature horses because they live far longer than dogs do. Miniature horses can live to be 35 years old, whereas most dogs max out at 12 years. Since it is expensive to train a service animal the longer lifespan is very beneficial to the disabled person who partners with the animal.
Miniature horses also have an ideal temperament for service animal work. They stay calm under pressure, and they have a great memory. They also have a 350̊ range of vision, which makes them very helpful partners for the blind.
Miniature horses are very clean and respond well to training. They can do everything that a service dog can do.
Currently, there are no organizations in Minnesota devoted to training miniature horses as service animals, which means those who are interested in miniature horses might wish to secure a trainer before making a purchase. However, there are several farms and breeders in the area.
About Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.:
For more information contact Joan M. Quade at www.bgs.com.
Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.
(763) - 780 - 8500
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