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
Guinness World Records has proclaimed Norman, a three-year-old French sheepdog, the fastest dog on a scooter.
Then again, there aren’t too many other dogs riding around on scooters.
Norman set the record in Marietta, Georgia, on July 12 and received his certificate from Guinness World Records while appearing on the Today Show over the weekend.
Norman’s owner, Karen Cobb, told Today Show anchors that the dog is a quick learner.
“He picked things up really quickly,” she said. Norman balances himself on the scooter with his two front paws on the handle and a back paw on the scooter, then uses his other hind paw to push himself forward.
He first showed an affinity for the scooter as a pup. “He loved it. He wouldn’t get off,” Cobb said.
His record-setting ride was part of a charity event that benefited Road Trip Home, an organization that saves animals from high-kill shelters. According to Guinness World Records, he traveled 100 feet in just over 20 seconds.
He has also appeared on Cartoon Network and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Norman has also mastered the skateboard and can ride a bike with training wheels.
(Photo: Erik S. Lesser / EPA)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bicycle, certificate, dog on scooter, dogs, french sheepdog, georgia, guinness world records, marietta, norman, pets, ride, rides, riding, road trip home, scooter, scooter riding dog, sheepdog, skateboard, today show, video
Case in point: today’s “Dear Abby” column, in which a reader relates how a 9-year-old visitor to his home climbed aboard his Labrador retriever, possibly causing her permanent injuries.
“Isaac,” the visiting child, who apparently had little experience with canines, was playing with Layla, the retriever, when the homeowner heard him say, “Look, I’m riding your dog!”
“I immediately intervened, but I was too late,” the letter writer said. “A day or so later, Layla was unable to descend our stairway and was clearly in pain. She has been on pain medication for three weeks and is growing progressively worse. The next step is to get X-rays and/or an MRI to see if she has a spinal injury, and then determine her treatment. It’s possible the damage is irreversible.”
The letter writer wasn’t seeking veterinary advice, but wondering how to tell Isaac and his parents about the harm he caused, and keep him from doing it again, without placing “undue guilt on a 9-year-old boy.”
Abby responded to “Heartbroken in New York” this way:
“Children are not mind-readers. If you don’t tell them when they make a mistake, they won’t realize they have made one. Contact Isaac’s parents and explain what happened. If your dog needs treatment, they should be responsible for whatever damage their son did.”
I — though nobody asked — would add only two things to that. First, that any guilt Isaac might feel on learning what he had done isn’t exactly “undue.” Second, that when your dog is meeting someone new — especially a child — you should be in the room, watching and, if necessary, teaching. It’s very easy for a dog owner to assume everyone knows how to behave around dogs, but it’s also very wrong.
Riding a dog, no matter how big he or she is, no matter what the Internet might tell you — and the photo above is just one example of some incredibly irresponsible online “expertise” — should simply never be done. Period.
(Photo: Taken from wikiHow.com’s article on “how to ride a dog”)
(Postscript: The day after this article appeared on ohmidog!, the wikiHow article on “how to ride a dog” was taken down.)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby, advice, animal welfare, breeds, children, dear abby, dog, dogs, expertise, health, heartbroken, injuries, injury, internet, irresponsible, kids, kids and dogs, labrador retriever, layla, meeting, new, responsible, ride, riding, riding dogs, rode, safety, wikihow
The first annual Ride for the Animals, benefiting the Maryland SPCA, will be Sunday, August 30.
The ride begins at noon at The Harley-Davidson/Buell Store, 8845 Pulaski Highway, in Baltimore. It ends at Padonia Station, 63 E. Padonia Road, in Timonium.
Registration opens at 10:00 a.m. and is $20 per person.
Entertainment at Padonia Station, starting at 2 p.m., will feature a raffle, silent auction, food and beverages for purchase and The Fabulous Skunkpuppie Band.
You don’t have to have a motorcycle to join the party at Padonia Station. However, no pets are permitted.
Email email@example.com for more information.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, benefit, event, fundraiser, harley-davidson, maryland spca, motorcycle, ride, ride for the animals, timonium
The Mid Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League is sponsoring a benefit motorcycle ride, starting in Frederick, with stops in Mount Airy, Taneytown and Boonsboro, before looping back to its point of origin – Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick.
The event, dubbed “Doing it for the Danes,” costs $25 for participating drivers, $10 for riders. In addition, those taking part will raise money through pledges.
Included in the ticket price are food, music, t-shirts (for the first 200 drivers), door prizes and a beer tasting (upon conclusion of the ride). Proceeds from all raffles and a portion of vendor sales will benefit MAGDRL.
The event will be held Saturday June 28. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m, with the first riders leaving at 9:30 a.m.
Riders will cover a 110-mile scenic route — with stops at Lu & Jo’s in Mount Airy, the Taneytown Tavern and The Dog Patch in Boonsboro — before returning to the Flying Dog Brewery, 4607 Wedgewood Blvd. (off English Muffin Way).
Posted by John Woestendiek May 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: benefit, boonsboro, dogs, frederick, fundraising, great dane, magdrl, maryland, mid atlantic, motorcycle, mount airy, pledges, rescue league, ride, taneytown, tickets
You’d think the “Roomba” — the lazy man’s robotic vacuum cleaner — would make the average cat head for the hills, or at least under the couch. Not this cat; he seems to enjoy the ride.