BALTIMORE (AP) — Public schools in Baltimore will allow the use of dogs and miniature horses as service animals.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the city's school board approved new guidelines for service animals on Tuesday.

Officials from the American Miniature Horse Association said there's been a dramatic uptick in inquiries about using miniature horses as service animals. They have a longer life expectancy than dogs. They can be less intimidating to children. They also have "very loving and loyal personalities."

Baltimore's new policy says miniature horses will be permitted as an alternative to dogs under "certain conditions."

The horses are typically 23 to 34 inches measured to the shoulders. The city guidelines require the horses to be housebroken and under their handler's control.