Tag: service dog
A Pennsylvania service dog agency is suing an Episcopal priest with cerebral palsy to force her to give up the service dog she has had since 2007.
So reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
The Rev. Claire Wimbush says it’s unlikely she could continue living on her own without Willa, a 10-year-old yellow Labrador retriever provided to her through Canine Partners for Life, a Cochranville, Pa.-based agency that says it wants the dog back for reasons not fully specified.
Canine Partners filed suit last month in Pennsylvania Supreme Court, accusing Wimbush of violating her dog care contract and asking the court to order the dog’s return — along with “reimbursement of all costs and expenses, including legal and court fees.”
Darlene Sullivan, executive director of Canine Partners, declined to comment on the specifics of Wimbush’s case, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. The newspaper is owned by Gannett Co. Inc., and the Rev. Wimbush is the daughter of Gannett Vice President Jane Ann Wimbush.
According to the lawsuit, the Rev. Wimbush did not follow the agency’s training rules, including those that require recipients of its dogs to maintain contact through follow-up reports.
“If on repeated occasions there are problems with compliance, we will place that person on probation and they will get a letter explaining everything about why and letting them know if there are further violations they will lose their dog,” the agency’s director said. “If it gets to that point, and they refuse to return the dog to us, we have no choice but to take legal action.”
The Rev. Wimbush said she believes the agency wants Willa back because she was late turning in paperwork about the dog’s health and behavior. She said the documents were mailed on March 25, but Canine Partners didn’t get them by the April 2 deadline. An email from the agency came on April 4, saying arrangements needed to be made for the dog’s return. Six days later, she says, she received a letter telling her to bring Willa to the airport for “repossession.”
“I’m bewildered by this,” said Wimbush, who who has spastic cerebral palsy quadriplegia and uses a motorized wheelchair for mobility. Wimbush served as Curate of Christian Education at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Rochester from 2011 until last weekend, and is now planning to move back to her native Virginia to be closer to her mother.
On a website supporting her campaign to keep the dog, claireandwilla.com, the Rev. Wimbush notes that Willa’s status changed in February, 2012, when she retired from being a service dog and became a home companion dog:
“My ministry had changed; I was no longer moving from place to place over the course of a day, so I didn’t need her to help me carry things and open doors as often. The Rochester winters are tough on both of us. She was nine years old, almost ten; it seemed like the right time to make a change. Since her retirement, she gets to be petted and admired by all the members of my congregation, especially the elementary school crowd. She still goes with me to the church most days, and often accompanies me when I visit parishioners in animal-friendly retirement communities…”
The reverend admits to having had trouble keeping up with the agency’s required paperwork in 2007, due to illness. The lawsuit says she has had a history of not complying with those requirements. In 2009, the suit says, Wimbush was placed on “permanent probation” and told that any future violations would result in the immediate loss of the dog.
On the Facebook page of Canine Partners for Life, the agency is taking some lumps for filing the lawsuit against the handicapped priest, and some commenters are saying it is “shameful” for it to be demanding the dog back.
“What part of ‘for life’ am I missing?” one person wrote.
It’s unusual for an agency like Canine Partners to demand a dog be returned, according to Toni Eames, president of the International Association of Assistant Dog Partners, an advocacy group of people with guide, hearing and service dogs.
“It’s a very legitimate agency, and there has to be something, mistreatment of the dog, neglect, maybe it has gained a tremendous amount of weight or there’s abuse, there‘s got to be something. Filing papers late is not a reason to demand return of a dog,” she told the newspaper.
Marsha Sweet, assistant director of independent living services for the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester, knew of only two such cases, and both times an agreement was reached allowing the person to keep the dog. “Usually, the agencies really try to remedy the situation,” she said.
The Rev. Wimbush hopes that might still happen, and an agreement can be worked out.
“I would do anything, anything, to keep my dog,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 6th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: canine partners for life, cerebral palsy, claire and willa, claire wimbush, companion dog, democrat and chronicle, disability, gannett, lawsuit, pennsylvania, piscopal, priest, repossess, retriever, return, reverend, rochester, service dog, supreme court, wheelchair, willa, yellow lab
Andrew Clyde keeps a doberman pinscher named Kit at his place of business in Bogart, Georgia, to provide security.
Russ Murray keeps a black Labrador named Ellie at his side to help him deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder he has dealt with since serving in Afghanistan.
Over the weekend Russ and Ellie went into Clyde’s shop and were asked to leave — because the service dog was upsetting the security dog.
Murray was physically injured when his Humvee was blown up by an explosive device in Afghanistan. After his tour of duty, his PTSD reached the point he was afraid to go outside alone.
Since getting Ellie, a year ago, that has changed. With her at his side, Murray is able to go anywhere — except Clyde’s Armory.
According to Murray, the gun shop owner told him Ellie was disturbing his security dog, and would have to leave. Murray refused and was escorted out of the building.
Clyde told FOX 5, that the Americans With Disabilities Act allows a business owner to ask a person with a service dog to leave if the dog is being disruptive or alters the way business is conducted.
Clyde said that he’s also a disabled veteran, but that Kit needs to be allowed to do her job without distraction.
Murray’s attorney says a business owner is required to accommodate people with service dogs — even if it means bringing merchandise outside the store.
“I was just extremely hurt,” Murray said. “I have this animal to help me when I’m out and it really disturbing that a business would do that when she’s there to help me go into public.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: americans with disabilities, andrew clyde, animals, bogart, clydes armory, disabilities, disabled, doberman, dogs, ellie, georgia, gun shop, kit, labrador, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, russ murray, service dog, veterans
Despite wearing a service vest clearly marked with the words “service dog,” a German shepherd named Princess was kicked out of Georgia convenience store.
Princess, who is a service dog for Wyatt Fox, a young boy with autism and other medical problems, was booted from the QuikTrip off Interstate 75 in McDonough.
According to his mother, Cory Fox, she was getting coffee when the manager approached and said, “We have food in here and you can’t be in here.”
Ms. Fox said she explained Princess was a service dog, and pointed out the dog’s vest, but the manager kept yelling at her until she was out the door.
“I’m very open to educating people as long as they approach me the right way. I will tell you what the dog does freely. I will tell you about service dogs, but he just continued to berate us and tell us we weren’t welcome,” she told 11Alive.
A QuickTrip corporate spokesman issued the following statement, with an iffy apology:
“If QT made a mistake, we apologize. We recognize all service dogs in our stores. Our training manuals reflect this. If we must, we may go back and retrain the employee so he understands our procedure.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, autism, convenience store, disabilities, dogs, gas station, georgia, kicked out, mcdonough, pets, qt, quicktrip, service dog
Reverend Richard Herrin — after a four-year stretch without one — now has a service dog to help him serve God.
Herrin, a Baptist minister who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, lost his most recent service dog in 2008.
After moving from Texas to North Carolina earlier this year, to be closer to family, he began looking for funding to help cover the $25,000 expense of getting a trained service dog and bringing it home.
His new community kicked in $6,000 of that — through a campaign drive headed by a Moravian church in Winston-Salem.
Herrin went to North Dakota in July to pick the dog up from the Great Plains Assistance Dogs Foundation Inc., the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Now, Dakota, a 3-year-old black Lab, is at his side, helping him with everyday tasks and in his ministry.
Due to the costs, Herrin had gone four years without a service dog since his last one, a golden retriever, died when he was living in Texas.
Not long after moving to North Carolina, Herrin visited Trinity Moravian Church, several blocks from his house. The secretary there referred him to the Rev. Russell May, interim minister at Bethania Moravian. May coordinated the fundraising effort, and Trinity Moravian accepted the checks and sent them on to North Dakota.
The dog’s main job is to pick things up and give them to Herrin. She’s learning to help Herrin take off his shirt, and has mastered bringing items to him from the refrigerator. She has also chewed up the television remote, but that’s part of the learning curve, say Herrin and his wife, both of whom are professional dog trainers.
“The dog has to know who you are,” Herrin said. “Can they look into you? Can they trust you are going to be honest? Are you going to be who you are? Without building a relationship, you might as well hang it up.”
On top of the chores a service dog helps with, he says, ” the value is the relationship with it.”
Dakota has made several visits to Herrin’s church, Southside Baptist, but Moravian congregations and others are pulling for him as well.
“The support of the Winston-Salem community has enabled him to get a tool that will challenge him, and that empowers him,” May said. “This is not simple charity. They have given him a responsibility, too… He wants to do ministry. This dog will help him in that.”
(Photo: Andrew Dye / Winston-Salem Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baptist, bethania moravian church, black, cerebral palsy, church, dakota, disabilities, fundraising, funds, great plains assistance dogs foundation, lab, labrador, minister, money, moravian, north carolina, raised, retriever, reverend, richard herrin, service dog, southside baptist church, trinity moravian church, winston-salem
Jordan Biggs, 20, was booked into a Corvallis jail Friday, and later released — but without the dog she calls Bear.
Bear, or Chase, as he was previously known, is in the custody of animal control as officials look into the claims of the Portland man who says he’s the original owner and allegations that he treated the dog in an abusive manner.
Biggs has said she found the dog earlier this year in Portland and took him with her to Corvallis. She trained the dog to assist her when she has an asthma attack, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times
When she returned to Portland for a visit in May, the original owner spotted the dog and asked that Siberian husky mix be returned.
When she declined, Sam Hanson-Fleming, 30, filed a complaint with police.
Biggs, meanwhile, hired animal rights attorney Geordie Duckler, who has filed a civil suit alleging Hanson-Fleming was abusive to the dog and asking a judge to grant custody to his client. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s has opened an investigation into whether Hanson-Fleming was abusive toward the pet.
Duckler said the dog would remain at a humane society shelter in Corvallis while the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office investigates the allegations.
Hanson-Fleming told The Oregonian in Portland on Saturday that the allegations of animal abuse and neglect are false: “I’ve never hit Chase, I’ve never kicked him. The only thing I’ve done is swatted him with a rolled up newspaper,” he said.
Duckler said a private investigation through his office revealed Hanson-Fleming kicked, slapped, beat and urinated on Chase in order to show “who was in charge.”
The lawyer also said Hanson-Fleming regularly kept the dog in a cage that was too small, and that he regularly made the dog “inhale significant amounts of marijuana smoke in order to amuse himself and his friends.”
(Photo: Jordan and the dog she calls Bear; by Amanda Cowan / The Corvallis Gazette-Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, animals, arrest, asthma, attorney, bear, chase, corvallis, custody, dispute, district attorney, dog, dogs, found, geordie duckler, investigation, jail, jailed, jordan biggs, lost, mistreated, mix, multnomah county, neglected, oregon state university, ownership, pets, portland, private investigator, sam hanson-fleming, service dog, siberian husky, student, theft
Sak, a former Chicago police officer, had sued the city, saying his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act were violated when the town ordered his dog — because it was part pit bull — out of town.
Aurelia’s town council voted 3-2 to accept the settlement, the Des Moines Register reported.
As part of the settlement, the city will pay the couple $30,000 and abide by an injunction issued by a federal judge in December that allows Sak to keep the dog in the city.
Sak and his wife, Peggy Leifer, must keep Snickers inside a fence when he’s home and on a leash when he leaves the property.
The couple moved to Aurelia in November to care for his 87-year-old mother, unaware that the town ban pit bulls.
Snickers has served as Sak’s service dog since a stroke in 2008 that left him without use of the right side of his body.
Snickers was taken from the home after 36 residents of Aurelia signed a petition to remove the dog. When a federal judge granted an injunction, the dog was returned.
Aurelia Mayor Jim Tell said the city agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid further bad publicity.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, aurelia, breed bans, chicago, disabilities, discrimination, dog, dogs, exception, iowa, james sak, keeps, lawsuit, negative, pets, pit bull, pit bull ban, pit bull mix, police. officer, publicity, retired, service, service dog, settlement, snickers, stay, stroke, victim
A second person with a disability says she and her service dog were asked to leave the McDonald’s restaurant in Alberta, Canada, that reportedly kicked out a man and his dog last week.
Carla Schneider says she was waiting in line to buy coffee in January 2010 when she was approached by an employee of the McDonald’s in Wetaskiwin who asked her about her St. Bernard.
Schneider’s disability stems from a traffic accident that left her with a brain injury and without the use of her right eye, CBC News reported.
McDonald’s said in an email that Schneider was asked to remove her dog, Angus, from the restaurant because she couldn’t “provide the required information for the service dog.”
Schneider says that isn’t true.
“I produced my government of Alberta certification card that qualifies Angus as a service dog and he asked me to explain my disabilities to him,” Schneider said. “Why do I need a dog and why do I have to use a dog that big?”
She said she chose a large breed as her service dog because it helps her with the balance problems caused by her disability.
Schneider complained to McDonald’s at the time of the incident, and received an apology letter and $20 worth of gift certificates, she said.
The McDonald’s is the same one that asked John Dignard and his service dog, Eve, to leave the premises last week because, according to Dignard, customers had complained that the dog smelled.
The manager of the McDonald’s denied last week that Dignard was asked to leave, saying he had departed voluntarily after he was told about customer complaints regarding his “behaviour and the well-being of his service dog.”
“It’s really disheartening to hear the message is falling on deaf ears,” said Alison Ainsworth, the Alberta woman who lobbied the province to make it illegal for businesses to deny service to disabled people with service dogs. “I think the Alberta government came up with the Alberta Service Dogs Act but passing such a legislation in absence of credible, meaningful information being communicated isn’t going far enough.”
Ainsworth says the government needs to do more to get businesses to comply.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alberta, angus, animals, brain, canada, denied, disabilities, disabled, dog, Eve, injuries, mcdonald's, pets, restaurants, saint bernard, service, service dog, st. bernard, Wetaskiwin
“Your dog stinks and everybody is writing letters to me,” John Dignard says he was told by the manager. “I’m tired of it and I want you to leave.”
Dignard, who suffered a brain injury when he was struck by a car at age five, says he relies on the dog, named Eve, to help him with his sense of direction, and to overcome moments of confusion and memory lapse.
He says he showed the manager a government-issued certification for the dog and told him that he could not be denied service.
“I’ll pay the fine … I don’t care. I want you and the dog never to come back here no more,” Dignard says the manager of the restaurant, in Wetaskiwin, replied.
CBC News reported that two McDonald’s employees supported Dignard’s account, but the owner of the McDonald’s, D.J. Sharma, said that Dignard was never asked to leave.
“The customer and his service animal have always been welcome in the restaurant and at no time were they refused service or asked to leave,” Sharma said in a written statement.
“We reached out to the customer after receiving numerous customer complaints regarding the individual’s behaviour and the well-being of his service animal. After approaching the customer, they voluntarily left the restaurant.”
Dignard says he is planning to complain to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, and won’t return to the McDonald’s.
“I’m not going to spend my money at McDonald’s if they cannot respect my disability…Change your attitude towards service dogs. “They’re not pets. They’re working dogs.”
(Photo: CBC News)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alberta, animals, assistance, brain, canada, disabilities, discrimination, dogs, ejects, Eve, injured, injury, John Dignard, manager, mcdonald's, pets, refused, restaurant, service, service dog, smells, stink, Wetaskiwin
He licked her face. He nudged her hand. And when his master regained consciousness after a fall on the kitchen floor, a miniature schnauzer named Danny not only brought her the phone, but a list of phone numbers as well.
So says Bethe Bennett, of Glendale, Arizona, who’s now recuperating from her painful tumble.
Bennett fell on her tile floor Friday and broke her femur. Once she regained consciousness, with help from Danny, she hoped the dog remembered some of his old tricks, because she wasn’t expecting any visitors until Tuesday.
“I was scared. I really thought I was going to die,” Bennett told ABCNews.com. “I knew I was going into shock because I’m a nurse.”
But Danny, a trained service dog who used to care for Bennett’s now-deceased mother, was able to remember his training.
“I started asking Danny to get me the phone,” Bennett said. “He ran back and forth a couple of times barking and finally jumped up and knocked the phone over and pushed it with his nose toward me.”
She called for an ambulance, but then realized the paramedics might not be able to get into her locked house. She decided to call a neighbor, but didn’t remember the phone number.
“Paper!” she yelled, and Danny brought over five sheets, one of which had the phone numbers of Bennett’s neighbors. They arrived in time to let the paramedics in.
She is now recovering at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, with Danny by her side, ABC reported.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be the one he’d have to rescue,” she said. “He was my little hero.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, arizona, assistance, bethe bennett, danny, dog, dogs, emergency, fall, glendale, hero, kitchen, miniature, pets, rescue, schnauzer, service dog, video
Jim Sak, the retired Chicago cop and stroke victim who the town of Aurelia said couldn’t keep his service dog, is getting Snickers back — likely today.
Northern Iowa District Court has granted the motion for a preliminary injunction allowing the dog to come back to town.
Snickers had been banned from the city limits earlier this month because he was a pit bull, and Sak had benn boarding him at a kennel outside town.
The city council of of Aurelia had voted that Sak, though he depended on the dog to help cope with the effects of his stroke, should not be allowed to keep his dog because it was a violation of its breed ban. The city threatened to seize and kill the dog if it remained.
During a two-hour hearing today, U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett ruled Snickers was an exception to the citywide ban because Sak uses a wheelchair and depends on the service dog.
According to Kim Wolf, Animal Farm Foundation community engagement specialist, Snickers will be returned to Sak’s residence later this afternoon.
Wolf said many came to the hearing to support Sak and Snickers, including strangers who drove hours to be there
“Animal Farm Foundation is thrilled that Officer Sak will be reunited with his service dog, Snickers, and his safety will no longer be compromised,” Wolf said. “This case is a sad example of what happens when cities discriminate against dogs based on breed or appearance.”
“Today I got my peace of mind back,” Sak said after the hearing. “I hope that nobody else has to go through what we went through.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal farm foundation, animals, aurelia, breed ban, breed-specific, dogs, exception, hearing, injunction, iowa, jim sak, judge mark bennett, keep, pets, pit bull, pitbull, pitbulls, return, returned, ruled, ruling, service dog, snickers, u.s. district court