Tag: service dogs
Jon C. Sabin, ordered by a judge last week to stop training and selling service dogs to families of sick children, says any instances of his dogs not performing properly were the fault of the families.
“The dogs are trained when I’m there, but after I leave everything goes to hell in a handbasket,” said Sabin, who was accused by the New York Attorney General’s Office of duping more than a dozen families into believing the dogs he sold them — for as much as $20,000 each – were trained.
Sabin, who ran Seizure Alert Dogs For Life, was ordered by a judge last week to never again train or sell service dogs.
He has promised to fight the ruling, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, according to the Watertown Daily Times.
Sabin said families who have complained about their dogs have only themselves to blame — for not following through with the training plans that he made for them and for treating the service dogs like pets even though he advised them not to, according to Syracuse.com
“You don’t put these dogs in your bed. You don’t give them meatballs from the kitchen table,” Sabin said.
Sabin was sued by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for selling more than a dozen families untrained dogs he said could detect and control seizures in their ill children.
Court papers described how the families paid thousands of dollars for the dogs only to find they couldn’t detect seizures, much less do anything about them.
Sabin says he suffers from epileptic seizures, and that he developed his program after his medication failed to control them. Sabin estimated that, since 2009, he has sold and trained about 50 dogs
Not all of his customers are unhappy. The Stevens family in Washington D.C. bought a dog from Sabin three years ago for their son, Andrew, who has a severe form of epilepsy. The dog has detected hundreds of seizures and swiped the magnet on her collar over Andrew’s chest, activating a device in the child’s chest that stimulates his vagus nerve and stops the seizure, according to the family.
The state says Sabin “deceptively promoted dogs as ‘highly trained service dogs,’ when in fact he undertook no steps to select appropriate dogs for service work, nor did he undertake any relevant training of these animals prior to selling them.”
A judge last Tuesday issued permanent injunctions prohibiting Sabin and his company from advertising or selling dogs trained to assist people suffering from epilepsy or other medical conditions.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attorney general, children, collar, epilepsy, Eric Schneiderman, injunction, jon sabin, lawsuit, magnet, new york, seizure, seizure alert dogs, seizure dogs, service dogs, sick, vagus nerve
Pirelli came into the world last year — bred to be a service dog, but born without one of his rear paws, apparently the result of the umbilical cord wrapping around it and cutting off circulation.
Despite that, he’d go on to serve — visiting schools to get across the message that appearances are meaningless and obstacles can be overcome
“I think the fact that he has a disability of his own is going to be incredible in teaching people that it’s irrelevant, that life is not about what your body can do. It’s about who you are on the inside not the outside, Jennifer Arnold, the founder of Canine Assistants in Alpharetta, Georgia, said at the time.
“I want Pirelli to go into schools and say when you judge whether or not you want someone to be your friend, don’t look at their bodies,” she told WWLP – 22 News. “That’s not where you need to look.”
Pirelli — named after a tire because “he needs a retread” — was outfitted with a temporary prosthetic and went on to spread some hope and inspiration.
Now, months later, it’s his turn to receive some: Through donations from those touched by his story, he’s getting a prosthetic foot — similar to the futuristic running blades worn by South African Olympian and double amputee Oscar Pistorius, NBC’s Today Show reported.
After earlier prosthetic devices proved less than perfect, the staff at Canine Assistants launched a fundraising campaign online, asking for donations to outfit Pirelli with a state-of-the-art carbon fiber paw.
While he is waiting for the surgery, Pirelli has been fitted with a plastic version of the carbon foot. The implantation of his permanent prosthesis will be done at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The prosthesis — being built by Hangar Clinic, the company whose work in prosthetics helped inspire the recent film “Dolphin Tale” — will be implanted into his leg bone.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, canine assistants, carbon fiber, college of veterinary medicine, disabilities, dogs, georgia, golden, implant, jennifer arnold, leg, north carolina state university, oscar pistorius, paw, pets, pirelli, prosthetic, retriever, running blade, schools, service dogs
The wonder, promise and growing popularity of diabetes-detecting dogs were highlighted in a Wall Street Journal story this week that featured Abbie (that’s her on the left) and Gracie (the purposeful looking retriever on the right).
Abbie, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 4, is 8-years-old now, and Gracie serves to alert her family when Abbie’s blood sugar levels rise to dangerous levels.
Gracie wakes up Abbie’s mother, Shana Eppler, about twice a night, when the 3-year-old British Labrador retriever rings a bell — a sign that Abbie’s levels have gotten too high.
Hypoglycemic-alert dogs, experts say, can outperform medical devices, such as glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors. In cases of low blood sugar, their performance is even more impressive, and more mysterious. They react to a scent researchers haven’t yet identified.
“Whatever is being secreted in that drop in blood sugar…we just don’t know what it is,” Dana Hardin, a pediatric endocrinologist who works for Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, told the Journal. Hardin is working to identify what the dogs are smelling in hopes it will facilitate training more dogs, and possibly lead to a detection device that performs as impressively as they do.
Dr. Hardin, who presented the first scientific research on the dogs at this year’s annual American Diabetes Association conference in Philadelphia, said she considers the dogs lifesavers.
But they are expensive ones. A fully trained diabetic-alert dog can cost $20,000 or more. While nonprofit training centers offer dogs free or at a nominal fee, their waiting lists are long. Interest in diabetic-alert dogs is rising, said Ed Peebles, president of the Las Vegas-based National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs. He gets about 20 applications for a dog every day.
Those families who get one — even if skeptical at first — are amazed by the results.
“I wasn’t about to trust my son’s life to something that is voodoo,” said Andrea Calamoneri, whose 15-year-old son Dylan has Type 1 diabetes. But seeing her son’s dog, Celeste, in action convinced her. “It gives you chills when you see it happen,” she said.
Abbie’s dog Gracie is always on duty, said Ms. Eppler, of Colorado Springs.
When Abbie’s blood sugar levels get too high, Gracie waves a raised paw. When they get too low, Gracie waves and then bows. “Rarely will Gracie let Abbie get below 90,” Ms. Eppler said.
“We joke that they are angels with fur.”
(Photo: Abbie and Gracie; by KC Owens / Wall Street Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abbie, alert, angels with fur, animals, assistance dogs, blood sugar, dangerous, detecting, diabetes, diabetic alert dogs, diabetics, dogs, gracie, hypoglycemic, labrador, levels, pets, retriever, rising, service dogs, sinking, type 1, type 2
Patrick Stark says he and his dog Copenhagen, a Queensland heeler, were asked to leave a Wawa store in June.
He’d gone to the convenience store in Millville with his dog — who helps him cope with recurrent seizures – to pick up some sandwiches, but an assistant manager argued that his dog wasn’t allowed.
Other customers reportedly joined in. Copenhagen reportedly sat quietly and watched.
Stark said even when he pointed to the special tags on Copenhagen the assistant manager would not listen to him and called police.
“The police were great when they got there,” Stark said. “They were so nice to me.”
New Jersey state officials announced the settlement Wednesday. Despite the payoff, Stark said he plans to avoid Wawas, or at least that Wawa, in the future. Wawa Food Markets operates almost 600 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
The Pennsylvania-based chain has agreed to post signs in its New Jersey stores saying service dogs are welcome and to train employees about state laws regarding service animals. The company didn’t admit any liability as part of the settlement, according to NJ.com.
“Service dogs are permitted in all Wawa stores,” said company spokesperson Lori Bruce. “It is always our effort and intent to fully comply with the law and treat all customers with sensitivity and respect. If for some reason we find out that there was an individual experience that did not reflect that, we will always do our best to look into the situation and address it immediately.”
Stark served in the Army from 1998 to 2000, and began having problems with recurrent seizures three years ago when he was hit in the head during a mugging in Seattle.
“He’s my lifeline,” Stark said of Copenhagen. “Without him I can’t function. Without him I can’t go anywhere and have an independent life.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artist, complaint, convenience store, copenhagen, denied, dog, dogs, heeler, millville, new jersey, patrick stark, pets, seizures, service, service dogs, wawa
The founder of Paws and Stripes — a nonprofit organization that provides disabled veterans with service dogs — says both he and his service dog, Sarge, were mistreated by United Airlines.
After waiting 48 hours in Dulles Airport due to cancellations and delays, Jim Stanek said he approached a ticket counter to get help understanding his revised itinerary.
He says he explained was having difficulty reading it.
“He said, ‘Just read it’ and I said, ‘Sir I can’t read it,’ and he said, ‘What are you retarded?’” Stanek recalled.
Wounded in battle, Stanek suffers from a brain injury that makes it difficult for him to concentrate under stress.
In addition to the insult, Stanek says, Sarge was kicked twice by United employees, leaving her “shaking like a leaf. It’s like she has PTSD.”
Stanek said the second, and harder kick came on a shuttle bus that was taking him from one terminal to another. An employee in a United uniform kicked the dog, he said.
“He said he was afraid of dogs,” Stanek said. “(He) kicked her so hard on the rib cage, that she literally jumped up into my lap.”
Stanek is encouraging others to register their concerns about how he and his dog were treated.
“I’m not asking for a red carpet, just treat me the way I’m supposed to be treated,” he said in a video he put together, recounting the incident.
Paws and Stripes works to provide service dogs for veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. The dogs are obtained only from shelters, and are trained by professionals to become service dogs.
Here’s Stanek’s account of what happened:
Posted by jwoestendiek July 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: airlines, animals, dog, dogs, founder, insulted, jim stanek, kicked, military, mistreated, paws and stripes, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, service dogs, shelter, united airlines, veterans
Back to Michigan we go for another tale of shameful behavior — that of another service dog getting kicked out of a restaurant.
Frank Eckl, his family and his service dog, Spruce — who helps Eckl, a veteran, detect and recover from seizures he believes are a result of contact with chemicals in the Gulf War — were forced to leave the Don Julio’s restaurant in Grand Rapids because the manager on duty would not permit the dog beyond the lobby.
“She said we were more than welcome to stay, but patrons in the restaurant and the manager didn’t want dog hair in the restaurant,” he said.
A manager at the restaurant told News 8 that patrons had complained, and that she would do the same thing again. “I can’t keep every customer happy,” she said. “I can’t have any kind of animal be around food. It’s kinda hard having most of my customers leave out on me because of one customer.”
“That’s insane!” said Jocelyn Dettloff, a representative for the Disability Advocates of Kent County. “I mean, who would say that you have to leave your cane or your mobility device at the door. People who rely on service animals — it’s the exact same thing.”
Eckl says he isn’t seeking monetary damages and doesn’t want anything from Don Julio’s other than an apology and training for its staff.
After the restaurant’s unwelcoming behavior, Eckl and his family went to the IHOP restaurant next door, where Spruce was permitted.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, disabilities, disability advocates of kent county, dog hair, dogs, don julios, frank eckl, grand rapids, law, michigan, pets, refused, restaurants, sanitation, seizures, service, service dogs, spruce, veteran
The cat, named Mittens, was trapped by two teenage boys in a milk crate, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire last January.
She managed to escape from the crate, extinguish the flames and return to what she had been doing — nursing her newborn kittens.
Mittens was rescued by police and animal control officers and, along with her kittens, brought to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), where she slowly recovered from the loss of her ears as well as third and fourth-degree burns covering 70 percent of her body.
Despite her injuries, Mittens continued to care for her kittens during recovery. Her story resulted in extensive media coverage and helped lead to stronger animal welfare laws in Maryland. Named the ASPCA’s Cat of the Year, she now resides in the home of Cindy Wright.
After a pit bull named Phoenix was doused with gasoline and set on fire in West Baltimore in 2009, Griffin, who previously had a private law practice, devoted her life to advocating for changes in Baltimore’s policies and procedures to better protect animals and prosecute their abusers. She was appointed by then-mayor Sheila Dixon to chair a new Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force, which went on to become a permanent standing Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, the first of its kind in the country.
Griffin’s work heightened media and public awareness of animal abuse, and let to increased coordination and cooperation between agencies and individuals concerned about the problem.
“Through Caroline’s unrelenting work, the Commission has not only helped Baltimore become a more humane community, but also serves as a model for other cities across the country,” the ASPCA said in a press release.
Griffin is one of two recipients of the ASPCA Presidential Service Award. Also receiving the honor is Subaru of America, Inc. for its unprecedented commitment to animal welfare. Through the Subaru “Love a Pet” Adoption Drive program, the ASPCA works with Subaru dealers across the country to team them up with local shelters to host co-branded ‘Love a Pet’ adoption events.
“The ASPCA is humbled by the commitment and compassion displayed by this year’s Humane Awards winners,” ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres said. “The distinguished achievements of these advocates are prime examples of the ASPCA’s mission of preventing cruelty to animals. This year’s event will be a celebration of all that has been done to bring us closer to our goal while reminding us that there is still much work ahead.”
The ASPCA’s Annual Humane Awards Luncheon — sponsored by the Hartville Group, Inc., provider of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance — will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.
Others to be honored are:
– Ricochet, the surfing golden retriever who raises money and helps the disabled. Rejected as a service dog, Ricochet and her owner, Judy Fridono, took another route to helping people. Ricochet is now a ‘SURFice’ dog for disabled surfers. On top of that, Ricochet has helped raise more than $125,000 for more than 150 human and animal causes, including childhood special needs, arthritis, breast cancer, canine cancer and animal rescue. Ricochet will be honored as the ASPCA Dog of the Year.
– Stevie Nelson, a five-year-old boy who raised more than $28,000 for the Northeast Nebraska Humane Society. After his family’s two black Labs went missing, Stevie, upon seeing an ASPCA commercial on television, decided he wanted to help needy animals find homes. He set out to raise $6,000 for the humane society’s campaign to build a new shelter, but to date has raised more than four times that. Stevie will receive the ASPCA’s Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year award — named after a nine year old boy who died trying to save his dog from a house fire in 2007.
– Sgt. David Hunt of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus, Ohio. Hunt has served as a leader in uncovering the link between animal cruelty and other serious crimes such as drug dealing, gambling and racketeering. Since 2002, Sgt. Hunt has executed 51 search warrants resulting in 67 felony dogfighting arrests. He has trained law enforcement officers in 28 states, and helped make dogfighting a crime law enforcement and lawmakers take more seriously. Hunt is receiving the ASPCA Public Service Award.
– Green Chimneys, a New York organization that helps children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges. A leader in animal-assisted activities, Green Chimneys operates an innovative special education school and residential treatment facility with programs to strengthen the emotional health and well being of children by promoting a harmonious relationship with animals and the environment. Green Chimneys is receiving the ASPCA Henry Bergh Award.
(Photo of Mittens, courtesy of BARCS; photo of Caroline Griffin by Mary Swift)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, anti-animal abuse task force, aspca, attention, awards, awareness, baltimore, barcs, caroline griffin, cat, cats, columbus, cruelty to animals, david hunt, dog, dogfighting, dogs, environment, green chimneys, honors, humane awards, judy fridono, law enforcement, lawyer, luncheon, mittens, nebraska, ohio, pets, phoenix, protect, ricochet, service dogs, set on fire, shelters, stevie nelson, surf, surfing, therapy dogs
A security guard at a Social Security Administration office in Georgia has been arrested for allegedly roughing up a visually impaired woman who insisted she had the right to enter the building with her service dog.
Which of course, she did.
Which of course, a government employee — even a contracted one — should know.
Melissa McMann says she is bruised and sore, and her shoulder possibly dislocated, after her visit to the Social Security office in Winder.
The guard, Leroy Huff, faces a charge of simple battery after he allegedly grabbed the 38-year-old McMann by the arm and tried to remove her from the office. Huff surrendered to authorities Wednesday and was taken to Barrow County Jail, WSBTV reported.
McMann and her husband, Christopher — along with Hurbie, her 5-year-old yellow Labrador — went to the Social Security office Thursday to complete some paperwork for their youngest daughter, who they adopted from Thailand.
Winder police say, as the couple was waiting to be called, Huff, an armed security guard, came up and told them dogs were not allowed in the facility.
When the couple explained that Hurbie was a service dog and legally allowed to be there, the officer demanded to see papers to prove it.
The McMann’s didn’t have any — for service dogs aren’t registered by the federal government, or most states – but Hurbie did have a guide harness and a sign attached to the harness stating he was “a working dog for the blind,” police said.
The McManns were protesting when Huff “proceeded to grab” McMann and “forcefully remove her from the building,” the police report said. At that point Mr. McMann called police on his cell phone.
Mrs. McMann, who has retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has left her with little sight, went to a hospital emergency room, where she was told her shoulder may have been dislocated.
Huff works for Paragon Security Services, which provides guards to the Federal Protective Service of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Social Security Administration apologized to McMann for the incident.
“Service animals are allowed in Social Security field offices,” Patti Patterson, regional spokeswoman for the Social Security Administration, told Channel 2 in an email. “We have apologized to Ms. McMann for the unfortunate incident that occurred with the contract security guard in our Winder field office.”
Posted by jwoestendiek September 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, disabilities, dislocated, dogs, ejected, force, georgia, grabbed, hurbie, leroy huff, melissa mcmann, pets, service dogs, shoulder, social security administration, visually impaired, winder
How many times are we going to keep reporting what’s basically the same story — a service dog getting kicked out of a restaurant or other business?
As often as we hear about it — and whether it’s a guide dog, a seizure-detecting dog or just a dog who is helping keep his or her owner on an even emotional keel.
Such was the mission of Junior P. Smith, a registered service dog who helps calm his owner, Don Smith, when he suffers anxiety attacks.
Don and Junior P. (alas, we don’t know what the “P” stands for) were asked to leave a restaurant in Clearfield, Utah, this week.
The owner of the Star Cafe, Litung Liu, told the Standard-Examiner that Junior — a Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix — was running around, trying to play with other customers, prompting him to tell Smith to leave.
Smith called police, saying the restaurant couldn’t kick out a service animal under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Smith’s psychologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City helped him register Junior as a service animal so he could bring the dog with him everywhere he goes. Whenever he starts to feel anxious, Smith says, he just reaches down and pets Junior, and the anxiety goes away.
“I rescued him when he was a puppy, and now he rewards me the rest of his life by helping me function in society,” Smith said. “He’s given back to me more than I could ever give to him.”
Smith said that although he had been in the cafe several times before with his dog, the owner approached him Tuesday and told him Junior had to leave.
Smith said Junior was on his leash and stayed under a table while in the restaurant.
Restaurant owner Litung Liu defended his actions by saying, “The dog just runs around and goes anywhere, even when I tell (Smith) not to allow it … We are a restaurant, and people are eating here. If the dog is quiet, it’s OK. If the dog goes around and plays around with other people, that is not OK.”
When a police officer arrived at the restaurant, he too told Smith to leave.
Clearfield Police Assistant Chief Mike Stenquist confirmed that, according to the officer’s report, the officer asked Smith to leave at the request of the owner.
“We’ll have to review on our end (to see) if that was appropriate,” Stenquist said.
(Photo: Erin Hooley / Standard-Examiner)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: americans with disabilities act, animals, anxiety, chihuahua, clearfield, disabiliity, disabilities, dogs, don smith, jack russell, junior, junior p. smith, pets, police, service dog, service dogs, star cafe, utah
Jennifer Schwenker has spoken publicly for the first time since she, her autistic twin sons and their service dog, Barkley, were bullied out of a Marietta, Ga., McDonald’s last month.
Schwenker said she was just trying to leave the restaurant when she accidentally spilled some of her drink on the off-duty manager who had ordered them out.
“I accidentally dropped the drink just trying to get out the door frantically,” she told 11Alive News in an exclusive interview Monday.
The drink splashed on several people, including the off duty manager, who followed Schwenker outside and, out of the view of cameras, slapped her, police said.
The manager, Tiffany Denise Allen, 25, was fired and faces misdemeanor assault and battery charges.
Schwenker was having lunch with her twin 8-year-old sons, Ben and Sam, and their autism service dog, Barkley, a Labrador and bloodhound mix who was trained at “4 Paws for Ability”, of Xenia, Ohio, when the off-duty manager insisted the dog had to leave the restaurant.
“Most of the time people don’t understand about autism dogs and what they do,” Schwenker said.
She said Barkley joined their family two years ago, and helps calm her sons, as well as keep track of them.
As a result of her McDonald’s experience, Schwenker has created a web site called “Animals in Service for Children” and is using it to tell her family’s stories and those of others that may have had similar problems.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 4 paws for ability, animals, animals for children, animals in service for children, assault, autism, barkley, disabilities, discrimination, dogs, georgia, jennifer schwenker, manager, marietta, mcdonald's, pets, refused service, restaurant, service dog, service dogs, sons, surveillance, tiffany denise allen, twins, video