Tales of the Red Tape #6: Equine Equality Under the ADA

Diane Katz /

Every business must comply with a mind-boggling range of regulations, but the latest regulatory “guidance” on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may be the last straw—literally.

Hotels, restaurants, airlines and the like must now modify “policies, practices, or procedures” to accommodate miniature horses as service animals.

The new guidelines, effective March 15, elevate the regulatory standing of the pygmy ponies over chimps, pigs, goats, iguanas, birds, and rats—all of which have been claimed as service animals by their owners but are not now formally recognized as such by the government.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which administers the ADA, miniature horses are a “viable alternative” to dogs for individuals with allergies or for observant Muslims and others whose religious beliefs preclude canine accompaniment.

In determining what constitutes “reasonable accommodation” of an equine, business owners may inquire whether the service horse is “housebroken.” According to the DOJ, horses can be trained through “behavioral reinforcement,” although the agency also recommends that the animals be kept outdoors when not performing tasks—just in case it reverts to natural behavior, evidently.

Interested in more unbelievable Tales of the Red Tape? Be sure to read the following:

#1: We See Dead People

#2: The EPA Is Fueling Nonsense

#3: Don’t Touch That Dial!

#4: The Unwitting Peddlers of Toxic Tomes

#5: Calorie Counts Forced Down Our Throats