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Judge: Woman's monkey not a service animal

Oct. 23, 2009 at 4:47 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 23 (UPI) -- A Missouri woman whose monkey was denied status as a service animal said having to leave the pet at home will restrict her activities.

Debby Rose of Springfield said a federal judge rejected her lawsuit against the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, CoxHealth and Wal-Mart East for failing to recognize her Bonnet Macaque monkey, Richard, as a service animal, The (Springfield, Mo.) News-Leader reported Friday.

"It's devastating; it's devastating," said Rose, who purchased the monkey in 2004. "I feel like I'm discriminated against in Greene County. What can I say?"

Rose said in her suit that she suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety. However, Judge Richard Dorr said in his ruling that Rose has been married three times, has six children, worked several jobs and moved in and out of the state several times. He said she was not diagnosed with her conditions until 2006, two years after she obtained the monkey.

The lawsuit claimed Richard qualified as a service animal because his actions had the effect of "breaking the spell" and " breaking off the focus." However, Dorr ruled the monkey's activities did not address any disabilities Rose might have.

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