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Tag: ada

Justice: Lawyer fined for snubbing service dog

justiceA Colorado Springs attorney accused of not allowing a disabled woman and her service dog into his office because he feared his new carpet might be soiled will pay $50,000 as part of a consent decree approved by a federal court today.

A November 2009 complaint accused Patric LeHouillier of violating the Americans with Disabilities act by barring Joan Murnane, a veterinarian with brain and other injuries that affect her balance, from entering his  law office because her service dog was with her.

The complaint says LeHouillier and his firm, LeHouillier & Associates, expressed concern that the Australian shepherd might soil its new carpet, according to a report in Westword.

That decision, under the consent decree, will cost him $50,000 –  $30,000 for Murnane, $10,000 for her husband and another $10,000 for a civil penalty.

“For almost two decades, the ADA has ensured that individuals with disabilities are guaranteed full and equal access to public accommodations, both large and small,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is unrelenting in [eradicating] discrimination against people with disabilities and ensuring that owners and operators of public accommodations recognize their obligations to provide equal access.”

The consent decree was approved by Judge Marcia S. Krieger in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Under its terms, LeHouillier and his firm will be required to adopt an ADA-compliant service animal policy and post the policy in a conspicuous location, post a “Service Animals Welcome” sign, and provide training to staff.

The press release noted that a service animal is any animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability — and that the classification is not limited to dogs that assist the blind.

It includes, the press release says, dogs who alert individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds, warn persons about impending seizures or other medical conditions, perform tasks for persons with psychiatric disabilities and provide physical supports for individuals with mobility issues.

More information about the ADA, including how to file an ADA complaint with the Justice Department, is available on the ADA home page at www.ada.gov.

The Justice Department also has a toll-free ADA Information Line (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

(Photo: Cafepress.com)

From death row to Broadway stage

macyThe sun will come out tomorrow — at least it did for Macy.

Macy was a scruffy little mutt, picked up as a stray and taken to Pontotoc County Animal Welfare Society in Ada, Oklahoma — a facility that generally holds dogs for three days before “deciding their future.”

(Meaning, especially in times of shelter overcrowding, whether they are going to have one.)

Macy, though unadopted and unclaimed, managed to stay there for several months, but as time passed her chances were growing dimmer.

She caught a break when she was chosen for a prison dog program called New Leash on Life at the CCA-Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville, Okla. But it turned out to be a temporary reprieve.

“Unfortunately, despite being a model student, Macy was the only dog at the end of the program scheduled to return to a kill shelter instead of an adoptive home or no-kill rescue,” according to RockySpot Rescue in Newcastle.

Macy’s future was looking pretty bleak again when, after her time in the prison program, RockySpot rescue took her in. RockySpot put a photo of Macy on its website, in hopes of finding her a home.

Another three months had passed when her picture was spotted by Bill Berloni, who trains animals for Broadway shows.

Berloni flew in from New York to look at her, and he liked what he saw.

Macy will be performing on Broadway, playing the role of Sandy in the musical “Annie.”

The moral of the story? Every time an orphaned dog is “euthanized,” a potential happy ending bites the dust.

(Photo: RockySpot Rescue)

Top ten dog parks in America

pointisabelPetside.com, which may love lists even more than dogs, has come out with the Top 10 Dog Parks in the U.S.

Topping the list is Point Isabel Dog Park in Richmond, California, recognized for its scenery, wide range of free activities, swimming holes and on-site cafe — all set on 23 leash-free acres.

Here’s the rest of the top five.

2. Dog Wood Dog Park in Jacksonville, Florida offers 25 acres of fenced play area, swimming, Frisbee fields, a sand pile for digging, and park-provided toys. There are designated areas for small dogs. Dues runs $289 annually, though day passes are available.

3. Jackson’s Howabaloo Dog Park in Edinboro, Pennsylvania features swimming and hiking, a play area just for special needs dogs. Dues runs $269 annually, but monthly and daily passes are available.

4. Fort Woof in Fort Worth, Texas has free admission, special events and the added benefit of being open after the sun goes down. The park is well-lit and stays open until 11:30 p.m.

5. Shaggy Pines Dog Park  in Ada, Michigan has  jogging and hiking trails, a swimming pond and play areas for different sized dogs. There’s also a coffee bar and lounge. Membership starts at $256 per year.

Rounding out the list are Bea Arthur Dog Park in Norfolk, Va.; Tompkins Square Dog Run in New York City; Ossining Dog Park in Westchester, N.Y.; Rocky Top Dog Park in Kingston, N.J.; and Happy Tails Dog Park in Plantation, Fla.

In recent months, Petside.com has also put out lists of the dog-friendliest college campuses, top dog beaches and dog-friendliest hotel chains.

For the dog park list, Petside.com says it took into consideration amenities, activities, hours of operation, and cost of entry.

(Photo of Jimmy at Point Isabel Dog Park, by Michael V., via Yelp.com)

What are the top 10 dog parks in the U.S.?

Dog Fancy magazine has released its annual list of America’s Best Dog Parks – and the winner is …  Freedom Bark Park in Lowell, Indiana.

“It’s never easy to create a dog park, but particularly in a small community that doesn’t even allow leashed dogs in regular parks,” explains Dog Fancy Editor Susan Chaney. “The way dog lovers pulled together in Lowell impressed us. Also factoring into our decision were the digging areas so dogs can do what they love to do and the environmental efforts of the Freedom Bark Park Committee.”

Every year, Dog Fancy asks its readers to submit nominations for America’s best dog park. Parks must have fencing, double gates and free clean-up bags to be considered. Parks are then judged based on a list of standards including: water for dogs and their people, shade, lights, parking availability and accessibility, support organizations and special events, among others.

The rest of the top ten were:
 

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