Factual Disputes Remain Concerning Whether Federal Law Allows A Miniature Horse To Be Kept At Home In Town.

The plaintiff was criminally charged with violating the defendant's municipal ordinance banning horses from residential property.  An initial complaint against the plaintiff was triggered by neighbors complaining of excessive manure from a horse and other animals on the plaintiff's property.  Ultimately, the plaintiff removed all of the farm animals from her property except one miniature horse which she kept as a service animal for her disabled minor daughter.  In early 2013, the defendant passed an ordinance which amended the defendant's municipal code to "prohibit the keeping of farm animals at residences within the city."  The ordinance specifically applied to horses except where authorized by federal, state or local law.  The plaintiff, after a complaint was made anonymously, was asked to remove her horse from the property.  The plaintiff complied, but the horse later reappeared at the plaintiff's property.  The plaintiff was cited for the ordinance violation and fined.  The plaintiff was tried on both citations and defended herself on the basis that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) allowed her to keep the horse for her daughter's therapy as a service animal.  The plaintiff moved to dismiss the citations, which the Municipal court denied and found the plaintiff guilty on both citations.  The Municipal court did not impose a fine for either conviction and the plaintiff did not appeal.  The plaintiff then later sued the defendant for alleged violation of her rights under the ADA and the FHAA, and that the 2013 ordinance was enacted with animus against her daughter in violation of the ADA and the FHAA.  The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted the motion on the grounds that the plaintiff's claims were barred by claim and issue preclusion based on her Municipal Court convictions.  On appeal, the court reversed.  The appellate court said the Municipal court proceedings had no preclusive effect.  While the court held that there was no evidence that the defendant's actions were motivated by discriminatory intent against the plaintiff's daughter, there remained significant factual disputes regarding whether the ADA or FHAA allowed the defendant to keep the miniature horse.  Anderson v. City of Blue Ash, No. 14-3754, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14293 (6th Cir. Aug. 14, 2015).