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Friday, August 12, 2011

Autism and Animals

KXTV in Sacramento, CA, reports on service dogs:

Details about laws and regulations are here.

An editorial from the Fayetteville [NC] Observer:
A hand, please, for Lisa Pia, who may soon prove you can fight City Hall. Pia's fight was for her 10-year-old autistic son, Anthony, and his beloved pet, Loopey the potbellied pig. Loopey was more than Anthony's pet - she was a therapeutic animal who helped Anthony make progress in his struggle with autism.

Unfortunately, a less-than-compassionate majority on the City Council was unable to make a distinction between a small potbellied pig and a hulking domestic porker on its way to becoming spare ribs. Loopey was exiled beyond the city limits.

The pig still is a resident of the Jambbas Ranch, outside the city, where Anthony visits her.

But Lisa Pia didn't stop fighting when Loopey got the boot. She filed a housing-discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which, according to communications an Observer reporter has seen, is leaning toward agreeing with Pia.

In an email sent to council members in July, Mayor Pro Tem. D.J. Haire advised that "HUD recommends that we make accommodations for the family to have the pig." Beyond that, HUD, the city and Pia have been sworn to temporary silence.

We hope Loopey and Anthony are reunited. More important, the city needs to draft an enlightened policy about therapy animals. That would be a real victory.