Target: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Goal: Lift a ban on larger pets so that a disabled veteran can keep her beloved pet pig
A Navy Veteran who can no longer work after a fight with bacterial meningitis was given a $500 fine for keeping her service animal, who happens to be a pig, in her home in New York. The fine was reportedly for keeping a “wild animal,” despite the fact that Wilbur the pig is a certified service animal who has helped to keep Ms. Nadine Darsanlal emotionally healthy during a difficult adjustment period.
The U.S. does not have the best track record in terms of how it treats its veterans, and this is yet another example of that failure. Due to the very limited fixed income that Nadine has been placed upon as a disabled veteran who cannot work, she is struggling to afford the $500 fine. On top of that, she’s had to leave her beloved friend Wilbur with a friend during this stressful time. Being apart from the companion who helped her get through the transition to civilian life, something made even more difficult by her disability, has been very hard for her emotionally.
New York state Senator Tony Avella has put forth a bill that would increase the maximum size that an animal can be before it is no longer considered a pet. By signing this petition, you will urge the governor of New York to support this bill and make sure that Nadine and other veterans using unconventional service animals can keep getting the support they so badly need after serving our country.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Recently, Navy veteran and New York resident Nadine Darsanlal was fined $500 for keeping a pig as a service animal in order to help keep up her emotional health. The pig, named Wilbur, is too large to be considered a pet, and so Nadine was punished by New York state for keeping what is considered a wild animal. However, Wilbur is a licensed service animal and has helped Nadine through a very difficult period of her life.
During her deployment, Nadine contracted bacterial meningitis, which has left her unable to work. This is the kind of disability that causes many veterans to suffer from severe depression and other mental health issues. Nadine’s friendship with Wilbur has allowed her to keep going in the face of physical limitations and the limited resources that are currently available to veterans, despite their selfless service to our nation. Nadine lives on a small fixed income and is having trouble paying the fine.
The law about the size of legal pets in New York clearly needs to be amended if it is hurting our veterans. I implore you to support the legislation that has been introduced by Senator Tony Avella to change the size limits so that Nadine can keep her service animal and best friend at her side. She should not be given ridiculous fines just for trying to survive emotionally when she has done so much for our country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: kiewi via Pixabay