Twinkie The Pig May Dodge Xmas Boot; City: With Proper Docs, Family May Be Entitled To 'Fair Housing' "Reasonable Accommodation" Granting 'Residency Status' To Miniature Porker As Emotional Support Animal For Down Syndrome Son
- Twinkie the pig might get to stay after all.
Although it's against city codes to keep pigs as pets, the Ray family insists they should receive an exception because their pet pig Twinkie provides emotional support for their son, Kason, who has Down syndrome.
On Tuesday, city officials asked for documentation, such as a doctor's prescription specifically for a pig as an emotional support animal, and documentation of Kason's dad's severe allergies, which prevent the family from having a dog or cat.
"If you provide the additional information, we will be able to reevaluate the applicability of the ordinance," wrote City Attorney John J. Hearn. "If we receive the documentation ... we will look at making reasonable accommodations,"(1) he added Thursday.
The Rays could have faced a daily fine of $500 for keeping the pig.
After the story about Twinkie was published in the Sun Sentinel, the family's plight has been featured in the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post and a futures and commodity market news site. Local television stations aired her story and it also appeared on a Boston TV website. It even showed up in the Daily Mail in England.
Kason's mother, Heather Ray, also received more than 260 signatures on her online petition at http://www.change.org asking the city to change its code and allow indoor pigs as pets.
Heather Ray said Thursday she would happily provide the paperwork to put this matter to rest.
"Mr. Hearn assured me that the city would not be fining us and that they would not be out to take Twinkie and that with the requested documentation we could come to an agreement in which Twinkie would be allowed as an emotional support animal for Kason without any further issues," she said. "I am satisfied with the agreement that we have come to and I appreciate the city being compassionate and understanding of our situation."(2)
For an earlier post on this story, see Miniature Swine A Therapy Animal, Says Homeowner After City Nixes Waiver Request To Keep Cuddly 3-Pound Pig; Situation May Be Federal Case In The Making If City Not Careful.
(1) In fact, this family may have legal rights under the Federal Fair Housing Act for reasonable accommodation to be granted when a household member has some type of physical or mental impairment. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and requires residential property owners to make reasonable accommodation to allow people with disabilities and their families to use and enjoy their homes. See, for example:
- Another HOA Gets 'Bitten' By 'Companion Pooch'; Association To Cough Up $40K To Settle Suit With Civil Rights Feds Over Condo Resident's Right To Keep 'Depression' Dog,
- Dog Dispute Takes $90K Bite Out Of Largest NYC Housing Complex For Refusal To Allow Resident With Certified Mental Health Issues To Keep Companion Pet,
- County Civil Rights Division To Assert "Prescription Pooch" Claim In Fair Housing Suit Against Condo Association On Behalf Of Elderly S. Florida Widow,
- Civil Rights Feds Continue Stepping Up In Fighting Housing Discrimination Against Those With Documented Need For Service Animal,
- Small Dog Takes $20K 'Bite' Out Of HOA In DOJ Suit Alleging Association Refused To OK Support Animal To Help Disabled Combat Vet Cope With Depression.