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48 U. Louisville L. Rev. 197 (2009-2010)
Advocating Change within the ADA: The Struggle to Recognize Emotional-Support Animals as Service Animals

handle is hein.journals/branlaj48 and id is 199 raw text is: ADVOCATING CHANGE WITHIN THE ADA: THE
KIistin M Bourland
Sara, a young female, lives alone in her apartment. Since childhood,
Sara has suffered from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive
disorder. But in recent years, her disorders have worsened, causing her to
isolate herself from friends and family. Going out in public now causes her
tremendous anxiety, so much so that she dropped out of college and rarely
leaves her apartment. According to her therapist, Sara's anxiety has
progressed into agoraphobia, which is, in essence, an unreasonable fear of
going out in public.'
After years of unsuccessful counseling and medication, Sara's therapist
has decided to try a new approach: Animal-assisted therapy. Animal-
assisted therapy involves using interaction between an animal and its owner
to aid in a patient's recovery from the patient's disabilities.2 As part of her
treatment, Sara's therapist convinced her to adopt a dog named Gatsby.
The treatment appeared to work. Following months of animal-assisted
therapy with Gatsby, Sara's disorders have improved.
At her therapist's suggestion, Sara decided to venture outside of her
apartment for the first time in months accompanied by Gatsby. After
leaving her apartment, Sara walked with Gatsby to a nearby restaurant to
meet some friends. At the direction of her therapist, Sara believed she
could take Gatsby into the restaurant with her because he is a service dog.
But when Sara attempted to enter the restaurant with Gatsby the
restaurant's staff refused her entry with Gatsby because the restaurant
adhered to a strict no pets policy. Sara, nonetheless, tried to explain that
* J.D. Candidate (May 2010 Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville, BA University of
Kentucky (2004). The author wishes to thank Professor Laura Rothstein for her valuable assistance.
I Agoraphobia is defined as an abnonal fiar of being helpless in an enbasrassing or unescapable
situation that is characterized esp[ecially] by the avoidance of open or public places. MERRIAM WEBSTER'S
COU  IATE DICnoNARY 24 (10th ed. 1996).
2 Sandra B. Barker & Kathryn S. Dawson, 7he fa& of Animal-Aistdl Thempy on An.xiey Rairgs of
Hospitaled Pycahiic Patots, 49 PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES 797, 797 (1998).


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