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Justice Dept. Sues University Over Its Decision to Ban a Student’s Therapy Dog

The U.S. Justice Department has sued the University of Nebraska at Kearney on behalf of a student who says the university refused to allow her to live in campus housing with a therapy dog, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit, which also names as defendants the university’s Board of Regents and several university employees, follows a complaint filed in September by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the complaint and lawsuit, the student, who is not named, says the dog helped her deal with depression and anxiety. The university, citing the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, concluded the dog was a pet, not a service animal, such as a guide dog for the blind. The Justice Department’s decision to intervene suggests that, in its view, colleges must observe the broader requirements of the Fair Housing Act in such cases.

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