Guinea Pig Pen

Published May 3, 2012

A college student is suing a Michigan university because it might not allow her to keep a “therapeutic” guinea pig in her dorm room for emotional support.

The student’s attorney says Grand Valley State University is allowing the guinea pig in the dorm temporarily. But he says the university will be violating the Fair Housing Act if it doesn’t allow the guinea pig to live there permanently.

The executive director of Intermountain Therapy Animals, a nonprofit group in Salt Lake City that organizes visits to hospitals, schools, and homes by teams with therapy animals, said there is a difference between a service animal assisting the blind and a therapeutic animal that just visits to provide temporary emotional support. She said most of the group’s therapy animals are dogs, with a few cats and “an occasional mini-horse.” No guinea pigs.

The lawyer, however, said the Fair Housing Act doesn’t limit the types of animals considered as “emotional support animals.”

Source: Associated Press, “Lawsuit: Student Needs Guinea Pig For Support,” CBS-Detroit, April 2, 2012 h/t faces of lawsuit abuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform