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Manatee School Board Adopts Service Animal Policy

Public domain photo from VA

BRADENTON – At Tuesday's meeting, the Manatee County School Board voted unanimously to adopt an official policy on types of service animals allowed on school grounds.

In its first draft, the proposal restricted allowable service animals on school grounds to dogs. The revised proposal does not specify what kinds of service animals could be allowed on school grounds other than dogs. 

Instead, the updated document now states animals offering services similar to dogs would be allowed. Those offering more unique services would be considered on a "case-by-case basis."

Originally brought up during a meeting in April, the proposal was tabled after discussion from public comments urged the board to allow other types of service animals, instead of allowing dogs solely. 

The original proposal noted that dogs are the only animal recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act for assistance on public and school grounds. 

That language was removed from the updated document, meaning other types of service animals that could be used under the revised proposal would include monkeys (sometimes used for quadriplegics), birds (one use being calming some with psychiatric disorders), pigs and horses (for the visually impaired); all of which were removed from the ADA's list of recognized service animals in 2011, leaving only dogs to be recognized as service animals.


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