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Chicago man continues legal fight to bring his 'emotional support' pig to parks
Chicago Tribune - 7/11/2019
Jul. 11--A Chicago man fighting for his "emotional support" guinea hog to be allowed in the city's parks can continue with part of his lawsuit against the Park District, a federal judge ruled last week.
In a lawsuit filed against the city and the Park District last year, Kenneth Mayle, 37, alleged that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, his pig Chief Wiggum should be allowed to accompany him in public spaces because he's an "emotional support" animal.
Over the last two years, Mayle alleged in his lawsuit that he and Chief Wiggum have been kicked out of several Chicago parks and beaches, including dog-friendly areas. Mayle has also encountered problems entering restaurants, local businesses and ride-shares, he alleged.
Mayle requested in his lawsuit the pig get equal rights given to service animal dogs and miniature horses.
The city and Park District requested the case be dismissed. However, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, in a response filed July 2, wrote Mayle could continue with the part of his claim against the city and Park District in which he says that the city violated its responsibility to "provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities."
The city and the Park District declined to respond to inquiries about the lawsuit, saying they could not comment on pending litigation.
"It shouldn't take a war in heaven to allow an emotional support pig into a public space," Mayle said in an interview with the Tribune. "I think it's positive. I wish the judge would have struck the Department of Justice's regulation on only allowing dogs and miniature horses."
According to the Department of Justice, only a dog or miniature horse can be a service animal, but an emotional support animal can be anything, Mayle said.
According to the American with Disabilities Act, a service animal is an animal trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
Mayle, who said in the lawsuit that he is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, said Chief Wiggum serves as an emotional support animal because he responds to attacks. Mayle also said the hog gives him massage therapy to help him with his anxiety and depression, according to his lawsuit.
In addition to responding to attacks, Chief Wiggum also provides companionship and encourages Mayle to do physical exercise, according to the lawsuit. Mayle, who said he is a Satanist, also said he uses the pig during his religious practices.
Mayle previously filed and lost a lawsuit to remove the term "In God We Trust" from U.S. money.
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