Miniature horses -- pet, livestock or service animal?

Heard of seeing-eye dogs? There's an alternative. Miniature horses, while commonly kept on farms, can also be used as "service" animals -- to help the blind and disabled get around. A federal rule requiring businesses to let them inside has stirred concern of lawsuits. The dispute doesn't distract from their cuteness, though. 

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    Cheryle King

    May 24, 2002: Cheryle King, who is blind, grooms Rosie at their home near Ellensburg, Wash. Although Rosie is potty-trained, the small horse wears underwear to protect against any unwanted accidents.
    AP
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    Rosie

    May 24, 2002: Rosie stands in the back seat of Jennye Cahoo's Toyota in Ellensburg, Wash. Rosie is one of a handful seeing eye horses in the country.
    AP
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    Rosie the guide horse

    May 24, 2002: Rosie the guide horse patiently waits in Ellensburg, Wash. while employees and customers marvel at her during a visit with Cheryle King to the telephone company.
    AP
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    Mona Ramouni with her guide horse

    April 9, 2009: Mona Ramouni with her guide horse, Cali, at her side, proofreads material at K&R Braille Transcribing in Lincoln Park, Mich.
    AP
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    Mona and Kelli Finger

    April 9, 2009: Mona Ramouni, left, and her guide horse, Cali, walk by co-worker Kelli Finger and her black Labrador at K&R Braille Transcribing in Lincoln Park, Mich.
    AP
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    Ann Edie

    Jan. 23, 2007: Ann Edie uses her miniature guide horse, Panda, as her lead while exiting a bus during a demonstration of sight lead animals in Albany, N.Y.
    AP
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    Panda is a miniature guide horse

    Jan. 23, 2007: Panda is a miniature guide horse that has helped Edie navigate the world of city streets and country lanes since 2003.
    AP
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    Dan Shaw

    May 30, 2001: Dan Shaw, of Elsworth, Maine, walks down a street in Boston's financial district with the help of a full-grown miniature horse named Cuddles. Shaw, who is visually impaired, and who is a graduate of the Guide Horse Foundation training program in Kittrell, N.C., is among the first to use a guide horse as a visual aid.
    AP
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    Cuddles

    April 15, 2004: Gov. John Baldacci, right, visits with Cuddles, a miniature guide horse for the blind, with owner Dan Shaw, of Ellsworth, Maine, at the Statehouse in Augusta, Maine.
    AP
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    Janet Burleson

    Jan. 9, 2003: Janet Burleson adjusts the Do Not Touch blanket on her American miniature horse Tonto, at a mall in Henderson, N.C. Burleson is training Tonto as a guide animal for a blind woman in Pennsylvania.
    AP
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    minihorse_bighorse

    Shown here is a miniature horse, next to a larger horse. Picture provided by the American Miniature Horse Association -- which does not support the use of miniature horses as service animals. 
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    Horse Snout

    March 15: Rescued miniature horses look out from their corral at MSPCA Nevins-Farm in Methuen, Mass. The horses were voluntarily surrendered from a small farm in West Boylston, Mass., after it became evident that their basic needs were not being met.
    AP
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    Horse Field

    March 15: Pam Nixon, assistant manager of the equine program at MSPCA Nevins-Farm in Methuen, Mass., squats close to one of 20 rescued miniature horses in their corral.
    AP
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