BLUE ASH, OH (FOX19) - A mother in Blue Ash says her daughter is being denied access to her service animal, a miniature horse, because of a city ordinance and now she is suing in federal court.
The City of Blue Ash says the miniature horse is classified as a farm animal and can only reside on property five acres or larger under current codes. The disabled child's mother, Ingrid Anderson, says the miniature horse is a service animal helping her child walk and live as normal a life as possible.
It is an issue that both sides have been fighting over for about four years. In the federal lawsuit filed Monday by Ingrid Anderson and Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), they claim this miniature horse is a service animal and protected under federal law but the city says that hasn't been proven.
Hope is a golden retriever, a service animal that helps Ingrid Anderson's 13-year-old daughter Chloe get through regular seizures along with a multitude of other disabilities she has had since birth. But she isn't the only animal Anderson says that helps give her daughter a normal life.
"We were blessed to have a small tiny horse to be given to us to be trained specifically for chole's specific needs. Unfortunately, Blue Ash has perceived Ellie to be quote livestock," says Anderson.
Anderson says Ellie pulled Chloe's stroller, helped her walk but because of the city's ordinance, she was forced to move the animal to a farm more than thirty miles away.
"There are many animals at the property. There is odors, there is noises, there is feces on the property and basically what it comes down to is the neighbors can't enjoy their own backyards," says Emily Schaffer, Public Information Coordinator for the City of Blue Ash.
Schaffer says they've received multiple complaints about the horses and other animals living on the property including pigs, rabbits and an alpaca. They are animals Anderson denies having on her property and says she only wants her child to live the best life she can even with her disabilities.
"I think ignorance is by far the biggest disability here in this particular situation," says Anderson.
As for the other plaintiff in this lawsuit, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, they are a non-profit organization that fights housing discrimination. They say they believe Mrs. Anderson is being unfairly targeted and that is why they joined this suit. The City of Blue Ash denies that claim.