Student sues to keep guinea pig on campus

April 4, 2012 at 12:43 PM

ALLENDALE, Mich., April 4 (UPI) -- A Michigan student is suing Grand Valley State University for the right to keep her guinea pig, which she says is an emotional support animal, on campus.

Kendra Velzen, 28, is suing the Allendale school with the help of the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan after school officials told her no pets are allowed at on-campus student housing, WZZM-TV, Grand Rapids, reported Wednesday.

"It's not a pet," said Elizabeth Vezino Stoddard of the Fair Housing Center. "It's a companion animal."

Stoddard said Velzen suffers from chronic depression and her psychologist wrote her a prescription for an emotional support animal.

The Fair Housing Center said the school is required by law to accommodate students coping with disabilities.

"That includes the right to a companion animal," Stoddard said. "A companion animal is considered something that's necessary for someone because of their disability."

Fair Housing attorney Steven Dane said the school is allowing Velzen to keep the guinea pig in her room until the matter is resolved.

A university spokeswoman said she could not comment on the lawsuit until it has been reviewed by officials.

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