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Friday, October 23, 2009

Judge to Missouri Woman: Your Monkey is Not a Service Animal

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 10:07 AM

click to enlarge Monkey may be a "Dick" but it's no service animal.
  • Monkey may be a "Dick" but it's no service animal.
Remember the story of Debby Rose?

She's the woman from Springfield, Missouri, who claims she suffers a social-anxiety disorder and needs monkeys -- 26 of 'em at last count -- to help ease her pains.

The monkeys are the bane of her neighbors who claim the critters have a tendency of escaping and scaring the bejesus out of them when they show up outside their windows bearing their fangs.

The animals have also caused the consternation of the local health officials and Wal-Mart, which prohibited Rose from entering its store with one of her pet primates -- a Bonnet Macaque named "Richard."

Rose, in turn, sued Wal-Mart and the Greene County Health Department claiming discrimination against her and that Richard is a service animals.

Yesterday, the case had a hearing in federal court. And the judge, he don't tolerate no monkey business

In a summary judgment ruling, federal judge Richard Dorr found that Richard did not qualify as a service animal and that Rose did not suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Instead, Dorr argued that Richard provided Rose with the comfort that any pet can provide its owner and guardian and shouldn't restrict her from performing normal activities without the monkey. Dorr agreed with health officials that the animal could pose a risk if it were allowed into restaurants and stores. The monkeys can carry a strain of herpes that can infect humans.

Rose, as you might expect, was "devastated" by the ruling.

"I won't be able to function," she said. "I can't say anymore. I can't do it without him."

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