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Miniature horses that have been trained to help disabled people will be allowed in Illinois schools and other public places under a new state law.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill Tuesday designating miniature horses as a type of service animal, like seeing-eye dogs, that can accompany people with disabilities. That includes helping people who may have a hearing impairment, seizures or an intellectual disability.

The law takes effect immediately.

Federal officials say miniature horses can be as short as 24 inches tall and weigh 70 to 100 pounds. They're already considered service animals by federal regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Advocates say the horses are a good alternative to dogs. For example, they could benefit people with severe allergies.

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