The National Federation of the Blind in California has filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc., saying its drivers have refused to transport blind people who use guide dogs and, in one instance, forced a guide dog to ride in the trunk of a car.
One registered Uber driver in Sacramento put a passenger’s guide dog in the trunk while transporting her, and refused to pull over after the customer realized where the animal was, according to the lawsuit.
Other blind riders with service animals have been refused service and harassed, the National Federation of the Blind of California alleges in a civil rights complaint filed this week in San Francisco federal court.
Uber is a ride-hailing app that connects its registered drivers with riders. It is up and running in more than 70 U.S. cities.
While the company does set guidelines for the drivers — and pretty much any schmo can be one — it points out those drivers are independent contractors, and that the company cannot be expected to be able to fully control their behavior. (Or, it follows, be held legally liable for it.)
Uber, like Lyft Inc. and other car-booking companies, are seeking to crack open the $11 billion U.S. taxi and limousine market, according to Bloomberg News.
Through the app, they hook up people needing rides with registered drivers offering one, and take a cut of the fares collected — in effect collecting money while doing none of the actual physical work, and avoiding any actual responsibility.
The federation filed the lawsuit based on complaints from more than 30 blind customers nationwide who have been denied rides because they had guide dogs — a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and California civil rights laws.
The advocacy group says the company monitors and controls interactions between drivers and customers, and should adopt and enforce policies to prevent discrimination against blind people with service animals. It is seeking a court order declaring the company discriminates against blind customers with guide dogs, and measures that would ensure that drivers don’t refuse rides to the vision-impaired.
“The Uber app is built to expand access to transportation options for all, including users with visual impairments and other disabilities,” said Eva Behrend, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Uber. “It is Uber’s policy that any driver partner that refuses to transport a service animal will be deactivated from the Uber platform.”
What action, if any, was taken against the driver who allegedly put a guide dog in a car trunk wasn’t specified, but we think he deserves a lot more than being “deactivated.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 11th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: application, apps, blind, california, car, civil rights, disabilities, discrimination, guide dogs, mobile, national federation of the blind, ride, service dogs, taxi, technology, transport, uber, uber technologies, vision impaired
Did a Google “street view” car hit and kill a small dog on a road in Chile?
Some media outlets are suggesting just that, based on evidence that comes from … Google.
Whether the Internet giant was fingered by its own technology isn’t certain, but a look at what the street view car recorded while traveling down the 2800 block of Meza Bell indicates that the lively little dog ran that ran in front of the car was, after the car had passed, apparently lifeless.
Street view cars, driven by independent contractors, travel down public streets recording a 360 degree view of the surroundings for use on Google Maps.
The images show the dog trotting in front of the oncoming car, and laying motionless in its wake.
Most media accounts, like this one on BusinessInsider.com, imply the vehicle did not stop.
Google says it is investigating the images to “understand and inform what happened” and ensure that they have proper guidelines in place to protect people and animals.
Last year, questions arose over whether a street view car had struck and killed a donkey in Botswana. Google said a review of the images proved that didn’t happen.
(Images from Google Maps)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 22nd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, dog, dogs, google, google maps, hits, internet, kills, mapping, maps, pets, street, street view, street view car, view
“We as a city again want to offer our complete apology to Mr. Jones,” Mayor Steve Widmyer said at last night’s City Council meeting.
Widmyer said the city will “take full responsibility” for the death of the 2-year-old black Lab mix, named Arfee, if the investigation determines mistakes were made.
Arfee was alone in a parked van when a police officer — as yet unnamed — approached it from the rear during an investigation. The officer says the dog lunged at him when he neared the partially opened window. He fired one shot — through the window glass — hitting Arfee in the chest and killing him.
Police Chief Ron Clark also spoke at the start of last night’s council meeting, calling the shooting “a regrettable tragedy.” He said he has spoken to the dog’s owner, Craig Jones, a former Coeur d’Alene resident now living in Colorado who was visiting the Idaho city during the 4th of July weekend.
“I told him how sorry I was about this incident,” the chief said. “And we had a good conversation. We discussed the entire situation and also about how it was unintended.”
Jones left Arfee in the van while he went out to breakfast and returned to find a bullet hole through the window, according to the Spokesman-Review.
In a news release after the shooting, police said they were responding to a report of a suspicious van, possibly containing someone watching young children. When an officer approached the van on the driver’s side, “a vicious Pit Bull dog lunged out the open driver’s side window toward the Officer’s face,” the release said.
Police removed the dog’s body and left before Jones returned to this van. Police later said the dog was a Lab mix, not a pit bull.
A witness to the shooting also spoke at last night’s council meeting.
“Everything that I witnessed appeared to be a complete cover-up,” Jessi Johnson told the council. “Everybody watched and nobody did the right thing.”
Police Chief Clark said the department’s investigation will be reviewed by the city’s legal department, the administration and an outside authority yet to be identified. The results will he shared with the public, he said.
“I’m going to do everything I can to avoid anything like this happening in the future,” he added.
The officer involved will be reassigned from patrol to office duty until the investigation and reviews are completed, Clark said. The city has withheld the officer’s name and the officer’s report on the incident, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 16th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arfee, car, coeur dalene, craig jones, dog, dogs, idaho, investigation, killed, killing, lab mix, law enforcement, officer, parked, pets, pit bull, police, shot, van, window
Police in Carver received a call Saturday after the truck went into the murky pond.
By the time Officer David Harriman arrived, one of two dogs had escaped and was standing on shore with the owner. But the other hadn’t surfaced, according to Boston.com
“Instead of waiting for the dive team, I decided to go in and try and get the dog,” Harriman explained.
“Seconds mean a big difference for animals, and people for that matter, under water,” he said.
The owner of the dogs, Debra Titus, 59, of Plymouth, stopped the vehicle next to a pond that provides water to the local fire department to argue with a man about dogs, South Coast Today reported.
“She thought she threw it in park but in fact threw it in reverse,” Sgt. Raymond Orr said. “It backed up and went into the pond.”
According to a police department press release, Harriman “removed his gun belt and dove into the murky water … He then managed to open the door and enter the vehicle and retrieve the dog. The dog was returned to its owner in good health but a little frightened.”
A photo of Harriman standing on the roof of the submerged Toyota Tacoma, with the tiny dog in his arms, is racking up the likes on Facebook.
Harriman, who described himself as a dog lover, has an 8-month old bulldog named Jaxx.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 10th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accolades, animals, car, carver, david harriman, dive, dog, dogs, facebook, hero, law enforcement, officer, pets, pickup, police, pond, rescue, submerged, trapped, truck, under water
Returning a dog you adopted to the shelter he came from isn’t always a shameful thing.
Sometimes, sad as it is to see, there can be valid reasons for doing so, and, given it is done right, it might turn out best for all involved.
This Denver man clearly didn’t do it right.
Daniel Sohn, 31, is scheduled to appear in court on July 2 to face charges of animal cruelty and neglect after ditching his dog at the Denver Animal Shelter — twice in one day, 7NEWS reported this week.
Sohn, in an interview with the station, disagreed with term “ditch,” and said he took the dog to the shelter to “give him a choice.”
The dog, named Bronson, was adopted by Sohn in October.
According to 7NEWS, he took the dog to the shelter to surrender him, but on two different visits the same day, he balked when he was asked to fill out the required paperwork.
At one point, he ran out the door to his car. His dog followed, and a witness snapped a photo of the dog chasing the car down the street.
Witnesses said his car hit the dog at one point.
7NEWS reporter Molly Hendrickson tracked Sohn down at his parent’s home in Aurora.
“Yes, that is my car and my dog,” Sohn said when shown the photo that had been taken of the dog chasing the car. “I actually dropped him off and he followed me because we have a bit of a bond.”
He added, “Well, I didn’t ditch him. I actually dropped my dog off at the shelter where I did pick him up at. I actually gave my dog a choice if he wanted to be with me or possibly find an owner he might feel better with.”
As for striking the dog with the car, Sohn said, “I didn’t accidentally hit him. He jumped in front of my car but I felt he was triggered to do so as if, like, he was a mechanism of the surrounding people.”
Sohn left with his dog, but he says Bronson later, on a trip to Los Angeles, jumped out of his car at a gas station in Beverly Hills. He hasn’t seen him since.
“He’s a stray and some dogs just stray and he’s probably onto the next owner,” Sohn said. “Is he still alive? I’m sure he is.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 29th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 7News, abandon, adoption, animals, car, charges, chasing, court, cruelty, daniel sohn, date, denver animal shelter, ditch, dog, dogs, hit, interview, neglect, news, pets, photo, photograph, report, returned, shelters, surrender
If there were a Professional Dog Walker Hall of Shame, we might have to nominate this Jaguar-driving hipster — at least based on a first-hand account recently published on the Echo Park Forums
The writer was in a Los Angeles supermarket when it was announced that there was a black sports car in the parking lot with its windows rolled up and a dog inside.
She went outside and saw a black Jaguar, with a black Lab panting in the black leather driver’s seat. The car was locked, with its windows up.
Standing by the car was a frantic woman – the one who had reported it to the store and called 911.
Another onlooker was threatening to break the car’s window when a fire truck was waved down. Firefighters got the door open and, as the car’s alarm system blared, they let the dog out.
According to her tags, her name was Chloe.
Chloe perked up after some water, and police showed up at the scene a little later, determining the car’s ownership by checking it’s VIN number. (It had no license plate.)
The post says a good hour passed before the driver of the Jaguar showed up. He told officers he was from New York and didn’t understand that the Los Angeles weather was too hot to lock a dog in a car.
He told police the dog was his.
But after onlookers called the phone number listed on Chloe’s collar, they realized he was lying — about that and more.
The dog’s owner answered, saying Chloe belonged to her, and that the black Jaguar was her dog walker’s car.
He has his own dog walking company, Rocket Dog Walking, in Los Angeles, which serves downtown, the Eastside and the Northeast.
He has been identified in Internet comments and on Facebook as an aspiring actor who has appeared in two low-budget movies.
We don’t know if he has a future in acting, but based on this report we know how much future he should have as a dog walker:
(Photos: Echo Park Forums and Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black lab, car, company, dog, dog walker, dog walking, dogs, echo park, echo park forums, heat, hot, jaguar, lab, labrador, locked, los angeles, pets, professional, retriever, rocket dog walking, walker, walking, windows
A disabled Army veteran whose service dog went missing after a car accident will soon be reunited with her.
“I am totally ecstatic … If I had two legs, I’d do a back flip!” 7-year Army veteran Luke Macner, of Tampa, said upon learning Nina, his German shepherd-Rottweiler mix had been found.
Macner broke his collar bone in the car accident, but in interviews afterwards he was more worried about what happened to Nina, his constant companion since he lost his leg.
“I’m lost without the dog. I really am,” he told WTSP at the time.
“Please, let somebody find you and please bring you back to me,” he pleaded.
After the accident, the dog was found wandering in South Tampa by Amy Abdnour.
While she was playing with the dog another woman, who had seen news reports about the missing dog, approached Abdnour.
“A lady said, ‘Do you know this dog has been on the news?’” Abdnour said.
After a call to the Humane Society, she got in touch with Macner.
Macner plans to reclaim the dog when he gets released from the hospital.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, animals, bond, car, companion, dog, dogs, found, lost, news, pets, reunion, reunited, service, tampa, vet, veteran