Therapy Pig of Boy with Down Syndrome at Center of Local Law Dispute

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Therapy pets are amazing and altruistic creatures; sadly, not all of them are treated equally. According to the Daily Mail U.K., a little boy with Down syndrome may be fined for his pet therapy pig, because the animal is illegal to keep as a pet in his Florida town.

Kason Ray's family got the seven-week-old pig, Tiny Twinkie, to help their son with his development. The Rays say they have already seen a positive change in Kason's behavior with the pig in the picture. Tiny Twinkie's sweet face and demeanor are the perfect tool against controlling Kason's occasional fits.

"He doesn't like things and Tiny Twinkie has a very calming effect on him. It mellows him out, it calms him down," Kason's mother, Heather, shared with Daily Mail U.K. "It's so good for him. He loves her so much."

Regardless of the positive effects Twinkie is having on the Ray family, the city government of Coral Springs is saying the animal is illegal. A city ordinance says that pigs cannot be kept because the animal is considered livestock. Officials from the city have said they are willing to overlook the rule if the Rays can prove the pet is a medical necessity.

Heather Ray says that she has already tried this, asking the city for a waiver against the law when she first researched therapy pigs. The mother explained that the family could not get a dog or rabbit, due to severe allergies inside the family. She also sent along the documentation asked for by the local government, including a letter of approval from Kason's doctor.

In addition, Heather Ray has also contacted the Department of Justice for assistance. The department told Ray that Kason has the right to keep Tiny Twinkie because of federal laws that protect American with disabilities.

Even with all of this support, the city says Tiny Twinkie cannot be a certified therapy pet until she is a year old, and will have to continue to take action. The Rays are prepared to fight, working on Tiny Twinkie's certification and looking into become therapy pet handlers themselves.

"Unfortunately, in our society, you know, people with special needs just are not always accepted ... an animal loves you, no matter what," Heather Ray told the Daily Mail U.K. "They don't care what you look like, they don't care how you talk, how you walk ... you know, they don't care, as long as you love them, they love you unconditionally, so that's very important to him, for us to have that for him."

For now, Tiny Twinkie is still with the Rays and no legal action has been taken by the city, but the government has made it clear that the family could receive fines of up to $500 a day for keeping the pig. The Rays have made it clear they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep Kason and his beloved pig-friend together.

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Jackie L. Tajiri

More proof, that Floridians are brain - dead. Not only do they not know how to vote, they are also ignorant about the benefits of animals on people's lives. This is insane. FLORIDA: Let them keep the pig!

November 23 2012 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if this was one of the city governments kids there would b no problem. let this child KEEP his pet

November 22 2012 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Stull

Why on earth would these parents put their child in a position where he could lose his companion to begin with? They knew the zoning yet stumbled ahead and did it anyway. The child will suffer and so will that little pig without the proper training and guidance. No good is going to come from this and in the end the animal is always the loser. It makes me extremely angry because there are laws to protect those animals which are therapy animals, but a 6 weeks old pig is not one of them. Very short sighted parents.

November 22 2012 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

GROW A HEART......CHANGE THE FRIGGIN LAW..! Are we so caught up in politics and policies that we can not be there for someone that is needy ? REALLY ?

November 22 2012 at 8:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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