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Legislative column: A part of small town USA goes global

February 9, 2014
By DEL. RANDY SWARTZMILLER , Weirton Daily Times

I am happy to report the House of Delegates passed HB 2387 "relating to reasonable accommodations under the West Virginia Fair Housing Act for persons with disabilities who need assistive animals." The bill defines "assistance animal" as "any service animal or emotional support animal with or without specific training or certification, or both, which is kept and used by a person with a disability to perform one or more major life activities or to enhance the effects of its master's disability." Also, it provides that the person with a disability requesting special accommodations provide supporting material documenting their need for the animal. Exceptions to HB 2387 are applied when the animals pose potential harm to people or to property. Now, HB 2387 will be sent to the Senate for further consideration. Passage of these types of bills is important all of the time. However, it is especially important during these cold winter months when handicapped individuals have difficulty performing certain tasks. Additionally, individuals with conditions that affect them emotionally or mentally can greatly benefit from the warmth of a pet during the winter, which often heightens cases of depression and anxiety.

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