Couple defends bringing kangaroo in public

Other farmer doesn't agree that kangaroos are appropriate therapy or service animals

Larry Moyer’s property just outside of Columbus is less of a traditional farm and more a regulated zoo of unique animals.

“They’re the sweetest animals,” Moyer said.

Next to the llama and across from the deer, you find a small barn with some unlikely creatures from down under.

“They’re really human-like.”

The three oldest of the Moyer’s five kangaroos live on the farm. The youngest is an 8-month old joey that goes everywhere with him and his wife, Diana.

“He’s legal,” Moyer said. “He can come any place that a service animal can, which is any place.”

Moyer said his wife is undergoing cancer treatments, and the baby kangaroo serves as a therapeutic animal. He said she even carries around a doctor’s note to prove it is medically approved.

Jimmy the joey goes shopping with the couple at East Towne Mall in Madison multiple times a week. The animal has also accompanied them to a Beaver Dam McDonald’s in the past, until police asked them to leave the fast food restaurant.

“I went out because I got so mad at the police being there that they threatened to arrest me, I walked out to the car. I figured that was enough of that,” Moyer said.

While the Moyers’ insist a kangaroo is an appropriate animal to provide comfort, not everyone agrees.

Megan Wood runs Emily’s Ten Oak Ranch in Madison and has two kangaroos of her own. She wonders if their extremely active nature makes them a good service animal.

“I love them dearly, but they still are quite the wild animal. They aren’t an animal that’s content to sit near your side. They’re very active, they’re very mobile,” Wood said.

State law defines a service animal as one that is “individually trained or is being trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” Wood pointed out that usually includes dogs and miniature horses, but not kangaroos.

“I think it takes a lot of time that you put into those service animals with their training and the extent of one-on-one timing with those animals, I just don’t think a kangaroo is suited for that,” Wood said.

Meanwhile, Moyer said there’s no other animal for his wife.

“The kangaroo’s it now,” Moyer concluded.