You can have my ferret when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers
What exactly is one to make of a story like this?
A student has filed an Americans With Disabilities Act complaint against a university because it won't let her keep her pet ferret at her dormitory.
Freshman Sarah Sevick, 19, said in a complaint filed with the U.S. Justice Department that she needs the ferret, named Lilly, at Our Lady of the Lake University to calm her during panic attacks.
"I'm not suing the school, and I'm not asking for money. I'm just trying to get her here," she said.
Sevick said she has been diagnosed with psychiatric problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. She takes medication for depression and anxiety, she said.
She said her problems are related, legally, to a physical disability.
"It's something inside my body that I can't control," Sevick said.
That's a new one on me, I gotta say. Actual ferret owner Ginger
agrees that ferrets have a nice, calming effect on a person, but wonders why she didn't just hide hers in the closet like a normal college student. I suppose this is another example of the principle that it's always easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. Let that be a lesson, kids.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 15, 2005 to The great state of Texas
One of the problems with getting ferrets legal anyplace is that domestic ferrets are frequently mistaken for their wild, endangered cousins. Not only does this lead to concerns about the environmental effects of letting them loose (honestly, minimal: unless you plan to breed your ferrets, you have fixed ones, and they're unlikely to make it more than a day or two if they get out in the wild) and concern about them biting (which they do less than cats or dogs). Ferrets aren't for everyone and they're not cheap, but they are good pets for a lot of people and great pets for a dorm or small apartment.
This, IMO, is clearly an example of the ADA being abused to become a lawyer's bonanza. The law is well intended and mostly a good thing, but I do think the term "disability" needs to be tightened a bit, and some common sense applied.