Author Topic: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...  (Read 6362 times)

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Offline responsiblek9

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http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/9566024-418/disabled-chicago-cop-denied-pit-bull-service-dog-launches-landmark-ada-lawsuit.html


Chicago Sun-Times - Now that he's retired and living in tiny Aurelia, Ia., the townsfolk are chasing him — to get rid of “Snickers,” a five-year-old Pit bull-mix service dog he ...
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 11:01:58 PM »
I definitely look forward to seeing how this one turns out.  And yes, it will indeed be a landmark case.

Based on the comment that they've had the dog all its life, I'm taking that to mean the dog is owner-trained.  This is where training logs will be critical.  We saw in the Bronk case, that an inability to prove the dog is trained can result in it being declared not a service dog, and that the word of the owner alone does not constitute proof of training.  Gotta have those logs.

Now, if the cities were being smart about this, which apparently none of them are being, they would have allowed him to apply for an exemption, required proof of training or a temperament test or something, and then granted the exemption on a case-by-case basis.  I am not in favor of breed bans.  What concerns me is that when breed bans are in place, people will claim their pets as a service dog in order to keep it, then after so claiming, they'll take it everywhere, even if it isn't temperamentally suited or trained, and this will have a substantial negative impact on legit SD teams.  So, playing devil's advocate, if I wanted to have a breed ban, and avoid this sort of loopholing, I would establish a procedure for getting an exception to the rule.

The letter of the law is REASONABLE accommodation, not any and all accommodation without having to ask for it.  In the case where dogs in general are allowed in a community, reasonable accommodation assumes no special request for accommodation is necessary.  But when we look at places such as housing, the accommodation must be requested.  So I think they could make a case that this is a reasonable accommodation to take into account the community's right to self govern and protect their citizens AND the PWD's right to have a SD.  A compromise.  Reasonableness loves a compromise.  Not budging is very likely to land them with a very broad "any pitbull claimed as a service dog, without proof, is allowed" and that's going to be a huge mess.
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Offline sunshineone

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 11:21:34 PM »
Breed bans generalize too much... It would be like saying a certain race religion or sex of a person is not allowed because they have a tendency to __________. 
I had a pitbull mix that would play mom to 2 week old kittens. She was 7 years old and never showed aggression during her life.

On the other there are stupid people who get dogs (or kids for that matter) and do not have a clue about training them but will not pick up a book to get any help.  The dogs (kids) end up being monsters whatever the breed.

I can see where one would make up that the dog is a service animal just to keep it so proof of disability demeanor and training is important. A town/ city should be flexible with regarding this.
If his is a true SD then behavior would not be an issue.
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Offline Sheenar

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 12:49:10 PM »
Another news article on this story:

Retired Chicago cop's service dog not welcome in Iowa town

Quote
For 32 years, nearly half as a tactical officer, Jim Sak was a cop chasing down bad guys on the streets of Chicago.

Now that he’s retired and living in tiny Aurelia, Ia., the townsfolk are chasing him — to get rid of “Snickers,” a five-year-old Pit bull-mix service dog he needs after suffering a debilitating stroke that left him with no feeling on the right side of his body

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/9566024-418/retired-chicago-cops-service-dog-not-welcome-in-iowa-town.html
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Offline Brian Jones

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2011, 04:01:03 PM »
Ghaa you guys are good.. I just found that looking over my daily email. Here is the link I had:

http://lawenforcementtoday.com/2011/12/22/town-council-forces-disabled-veteran-retired-police-officer-to-relinquish-service-dog/

I was always taught that federal law trumps local ords. I wonder how this one is going to turn out.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2011, 05:07:03 PM »
Federal law doesn't always trump local laws.  If it did, there would be no public access for service dogs in training.  How they interact can be complicated.  Usually, if you have two similar laws and one of them is silent on an issue, then the parallel law gets applied.  For example, I think it was the Thompson case where Delaware law, which permits SDITs but doesn't mention the task question was interpreted to include permitting the task question because the law was silent on the issue but the ADA, a parallel law, was not.  And sometimes, as with the ADA, there are specific guidelines on when each is applied.

Then this is where this one is sticky and a bit uncertain, there's the issue of federalism and state's rights.  It might be unconstitutional for a federal law to overturn a state or local breed ban.  We don't actually know until the courts rule.

Now another possibility is that the court determines that pit bulls are inherently a direct threat, which is basically what the cities are saying when they enact these bans.  Now, still playing devil's advocate, if I were the city's attorney (and I'm not an attorney) I might make a case that the DOJ and DOT have acknowledged abuse of the ADA and ACAA in terms of service animals and have restricted SPECIES, based on direct threat.  Non-human primates are an example, because they can spread diseases to humans more readily than dogs can, and because of their propensity to go postal.  So could they argue that the DOJ has already acknowledge the premise of breed bans is a legitimate reason for excluding specific groups of animals?

Does denying the use of a specific breed deny access to a service dog?  No.  There are other breed options.  This is a matter of personal preference.  Where does one person's right to personal preference override another's right to safety?

Please don't slam me for these arguments.  I am not in favor of breed ban legislation.  I am putting myself in the place of the cities in question and trying to imagine how they will argue the case.  I find the arguments fascinating and I enjoy trying to anticipate them and how the judge will rule.  What excites me about this case is that I don't have a strong feeling either way.  I have no idea which way it's going to go.  And I can't wait to find out.  It's definitely an issue that needs to be sorted out once and for all.
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Offline labs4ever

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2011, 05:50:15 PM »
I have a question regarding training logs.  I do have one that I kept for Sophie while training and  add to it if we work on a new task. 

Let's say you have a sd who has a very visible job that very obviously takes training.  If you can demonstrate that job such as guide work or mobility asisst would you still need training logs in court,  just a hypotheticall question.
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Offline Brian Jones

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2011, 06:04:48 PM »
I agree Kirsten, this is going to be very interesting to watch. I just hope he is able to get a good defense team.

Kirsten, I like Labs have a question about training logs. I am a firm believer in logging all training for about anything I do. What are your "must haves" when it comes to the logs for training a SD? Currently I am using a program that is geared to law enforcement K9's (KATS) that I have modified to better suit my needs, but it allows me to put pictures and videos as well as times dates of individual training sessions.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 06:10:07 PM by Brian Jones »

Offline responsiblek9

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 07:37:45 PM »
Should disabled Aurelia, Iowa, man get to keep his dog?
http://siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/should-disabled-aurelia-iowa-man-get-to-keep-his-dog/article_a88d3f40-d393-5796-9a8c-543b989634cb.html

Sioux City Journal - Within days, 36 Aurelia residents had signed a petition asking the city to enforce its pit bull ordinance against Sak and Leifer.
<<snip>>
 attorney, Sharon Malheiro, of Des Moines, has requested a hearing in U.S. District Court in Sioux City within five days. No hearing had been scheduled by late Thursday afternoon
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2011, 11:34:18 PM »
The inevitable question....

They've had the dog 5 years, and the stroke occurred 3 years ago.  We're almost certainly dealing with an owner-trained dog.  The dog is "certified."  By whom?  I'd really like to know.  Because if this is from one of those fly-by-night certification sight-unseen-for-a-fee, then I've lost all respect for this couple.
Kirsten and Tardis
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Offline Ilghaus

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2011, 11:06:24 PM »
Local news tonight -- Dog was "certified" by the National Service Dog Registry.
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Offline responsiblek9

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2011, 11:31:33 PM »
 :trx: I hope he does not try to use that "certification" to prove his dog is a legitimate service dog.. Gags. He might just lose.  :paw:
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Offline responsiblek9

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2011, 12:42:27 AM »
UPDATE: Aurelia, IA man says goodbye to service dog

http://www.ktiv.com/story/16387641/update-aurelia-ia-man-reunites-with-service-dog

AURELIA, Iowa (KTIV) -


So while Jim and Peggy fight to get Snickers back, the Animal Farm Foundation will temporarily keep the dog.

"Snickers will travel over 250 miles to stay with a foster home," said Mark Victoria of KTIV.

"Until we get clearance from our attorneys' that it's ok to bring him back, he's going to reside in Iowa City," said Leifer.

Meanwhile, a hearing in federal court will be held Wednesday here in Sioux City.
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Offline responsiblek9

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Service Dog Gets U.S. District Court Trial Date
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2011, 12:45:27 AM »

http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474980947800


Gather.com - Every dog gets his day. Snickers, a service dog owned by disabled retired Chicago Police Department officer James Sak, will be the subject of a US District
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Offline Magesteff

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Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2011, 01:44:27 AM »
Just a note: Animal Farm Foundation, which is assisting with defense of Snickers, is a "pit bull" organization that rescues pit bulls and fights breed bans. It is not aSD organization as such, and while I am glad they are helping this family fight to keep the service dog, they may not be aware of all ther SD rules ins and outs.

Meaning, depending on how Snickers training and credentials are presented - they may fumble the Service Dog aspect of this. s one article said Snickers "is certified with the National Service Animal Registry" which is nothing more than a scam/sham certification as SDs are not "certified" in that manner.

I'd have felt better if they had mentioned CGC or PAT or how they did Snickers training.
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