Friday, February 29, 2008

Crying foul


Today I went to work with the prison dog and handlers. While there I was told about a visitor that had brought a service dog, wearing a marked service dog vest, during visitation. Because the woman handling the dog did not have a visable disability, my primary handler asked her husband what the dog was used for. He was curious. Was it a hearing dog? A seizure alert dog? Or perhaps a diabetic alert dog? It turns out it didn't really matter because that she doesn't use the dog for herself. It belonged to a family member that passed away.

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Wait a minute. Whaaa???
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My question is, why is this dog wearing the vest and using it's priviledges as a service dog if it isn't in service of a handler or being trained? Pet's aren't allowed on the premises or at visits after all.
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Is it me, or does anyone else see this as an abuse of priviledge?
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It's not bad enough that I field calls from people who want to get service dog training for their pet just so they can take their dog where ever they want. "Um that's not what a service dog is for, sorry I can't help you." Unfortunatly I have had more than a couple of those calls and get them regularly. It always boggles my mind what people think they can do.
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Now I hear this example of blatant misuse(?) of a service dog. If there is a problem that crops up it has the potential to become a black mark against service dogs. Is this dog keeping current with training with the new person handling? Does the new person know all the commands and signals for the dog? The list goes on. I forgot to ask what kind of dog it was as I was so angry about the situation in general. So the details escaped me.
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I ask you though, "What is wrong with people?" It makes my head want to explode.
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Note: Dog in photo above not the dog in question. Cute though isn't he? Oh yeah, and because he looks like a pitbull he could be confiscated and killed in parts of Canada.
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Onto the second thing that makes my head want to explode. Check out this blog: http://savemunchie.blogspot.com
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For the record even french bulldogs are at risk in Canada due their idiocy about pitbulls. Unfortunatly it isn't just Canada we need to worry about, there are places here in the states enacting similar stupid laws as well. If you think breed bans don't affect you, think again. As you can see in the munchie case, ANY breed is at risk. It is about the people making decisions as to what dogs are pit bulls (or pit mixes) that is the problem. Not trained professionals by the way, just whoever they find to take the job. Scary if you ask me.
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Now a quote about the media I found both fitting and profoundly sad by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.

"Reporters are faced with the daily choice of painstakingly researching stories or writing whatever people tell them. Both approaches pay the same."
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Makes it all that much clearer don't you think?

1 comment:

Caveat said...

Hey, thanks for the nod. The Munchie case is a sad one indeed and when you read the court docs, cross examination of the ACO etc, it doesn't help.

For example, the witness couldn't even name the three purebreds banned in Ontario, yet considered herself educated enough to identify Munchie as an 'American Pit Bull terrier' - couldn't say whether UKC or ADBA of course.

The Ontario situation is grim. We are hoping that we will have the law overturned on Appeal, instead of just partly struck down as happened last summer. It's a nightmare up here, and not just for 'pit bull' owners.

As for the service dog, why wouldn't they try to place him with a person in need? Unless the dog is too old or too attached, that would seem to be the right thing to do.

You certainly have a right to be outraged.