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Can a rat be someone's service animal?

I have a friend who has a rat that is calm, well behaved, and potty trained. When she has this animal around, it helps with her anxiety, relieves stress, and alleviates the symptoms of panic she feels from a mental disorder (she is considered mentally disabled).

Occasionally she brings it to our school and when it is allowed to interact with some of the other people here, there has been a large rise in happiness (less depression, anxiety, ect). The animal had even negated suicidal tendencies that were present in some of the members. Lately however, she'd been getting some negative feedback from one of the members of the group we hang out in because he believes the rat should not be allowed at all despite the positive effects it has had not only on her but all of the other members allowed to interact with the animal.

We would like to see what the process we'd have to go through to ensure this animal can be allowed to still interact with our group, including procuring a license to mark the rat as a service animal.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Very unlikely, and not for long.

    A service animal is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the owner's disability.

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, which administers the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act):

    "Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals."

    They announced last year that they would be revising the definition of "service animal" to include the following:

    "The term service animal does not include wild animals (including nonhuman primates born in captivity), reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including any breed of horse, miniature horse, pony, pig, or goat), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents."

    This change is expected to come through literally any day now.

    So even if the rat was task-trained and would qualify under the current definition, it wouldn't qualify for long.

    http://www.ada.gov/NPRM2008/t3NPRM_federalreg.htm

    Source(s): I'm a disability advocate.
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  • 1 decade ago

    um maby not a service animal but more of like a theapy animal that helps kid with illness you know like when ppl bring dog to hosptials to cheer them up and stuff like that

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    im sorry but after reading the first sentence im pretty sure that ur friend doesnt have a rat cause that aint normal

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There is always one naysayer. Ignore him. Keep the magic rat around school and your friend. I think it is great that your friend takes comfort in the rat.

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  • Lenny
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Talk to Obama :)

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