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Aurelia reaches agreement over service dog

Monday, July 16, 2012

James Saks and Snickers
'Snickers' will stay behind fence on property, on a leash when he leaves

AURELIA - A Chicago couple who moved to Aurelia in November and sued the town a month later over its pit bull ban will get to keep their registered service dog, a pit-bull mix named Snickers, according to Aurelia Mayor Jim Tell. The couple sued the town over what they saw as a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, as they said that Snickers is a service dog on whom they rely for assistance.

The Aurelia City Council voted in May to settle the case rather than go to trial, and Mayor Tell said the case was recently settled, with a determination that the couple, James Saks and Peggy Leifer, may keep their dog, but they must also maintain an 8-foot high fence they have erected around their yard and keep the dog on a leash whenever he leaves the property. Leifer can also keep Snickers if she outlives Saks, who is disabled and relies on the dog for help.

"We agreed to pay a sum of money, and they will have to pay their own legal fees out of that money," Tell said.

Neither Tell nor Leifer would disclose the settlement amount, but Leifer said the couple's court costs and legal fees added up to $25,000.

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