Service Snakes

This has to be one of the funniest opinions I have ever read. God bless him, the trial judge played it perfectly straight.

The hapless plaintiffs had two problems:
(1) they wanted to use medical marijuana in federally-subsidized housing. True, Washington has a law created by initiative that provides an affirmative defense to prosecution under state law, but use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law;
(2) more entertainingly, they wanted to claim that their snakes were "service animals [sic]" under the ADA.

OK, what's wrong with this picture? Leaving aside the fact that a reptile is not, by definition, an "animal," the animal has to be individually trained to do work or perform similar tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The guy's physician actually only stated that he suffered from depression and the snakes were his "therapy pets." (Right before he wrote him a recommendation for medical marijuana.)

Now, I imagine you could train a bird to ask, "How do you feel about that," but a snake? After all, they speak with forked tongues. The case law is pretty clear that an owner's deriving comfort from an animal is not enough to qualify that animal as a service animal for ADA purposes. The animal/reptile has to have special training. Here the plaintiff lost because he was unable to show that he trained the snakes to perform specific tasks or that they had any other unique qualities.

You get more of a sense of what this guy must have been like as a tenant from the dry notation in the facts that he "claimed an unlimited right to carry the snakes around with him, including when he paid his rent."