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General Discussion => In the News (publicly viewable board) => Topic started by: responsiblek9 on December 21, 2011, 10:41:50 PM

Title: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: responsiblek9 on December 21, 2011, 10:41:50 PM

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/9566024-418/disabled-chicago-cop-denied-pit-bull-service-dog-launches-landmark-ada-lawsuit.html (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 ...
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Kirsten 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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: sunshineone 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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Sheenar 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 (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/9566024-418/retired-chicago-cops-service-dog-not-welcome-in-iowa-town.html)
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Brian Jones 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/ (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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Kirsten 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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: labs4ever 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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Brian Jones 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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: responsiblek9 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 (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
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Kirsten 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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Ilghaus on December 23, 2011, 11:06:24 PM
Local news tonight -- Dog was "certified" by the National Service Dog Registry.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: responsiblek9 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:
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: responsiblek9 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 (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.
Title: Service Dog Gets U.S. District Court Trial Date
Post by: responsiblek9 on December 24, 2011, 12:45:27 AM

http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474980947800 (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
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Magesteff 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.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: responsiblek9 on December 25, 2011, 01:00:15 AM
Man denied 'service dog' seeks legal action
http://www.chronicletimes.com/story/1798008.html (http://www.chronicletimes.com/story/1798008.html)


Sak and his wife, Peggy Leifer, moved to Aurelia in November to live near Leifer's ailing mother, Heddy Engdahl, an 87-year-old long time resident of Aurelia. Sak was accompanied by his service dog, Snickers, who is certified with the National Service Animal Registry.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Ilghaus on December 25, 2011, 01:38:06 AM
Quote
the National Service Animal Registry

Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: responsiblek9 on December 26, 2011, 04:19:21 PM
DOG CONCERNS: City Sued After Banning Service Dog
http://www.whotv.com/news/who-story-service-dog-banned-aurelia-122311,0,6167404.story (http://www.whotv.com/news/who-story-service-dog-banned-aurelia-122311,0,6167404.story)

Quote
City Council member Jeff Bowen refused to answer questions about whether he thought the City was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities act. "Well I guess the attorneys will have to figure that out" Bowen told us, "I don't have any comment."
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Magesteff on December 26, 2011, 06:43:04 PM
After reading the miost recent link I have to ask a question in response to something the owner/handler said:

Quote
Sak says Snickers is very well trained, and has never hurt anyone. "He has never even growled at anybody. The kids come home from school and would stop and play with him." he says

Question: Is this a safe action? I would think this puts excessive stress ont he dog's neck. SHouldn't the dog be wearing a harness that the owner can grab if the dog is pulling the owner to a table or chair?
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: responsiblek9 on December 26, 2011, 06:50:33 PM
Quote
says he needs the dog. "If I fall on my back I'm a turtle. I just don't move." Sak explains, "I grab that collar...He'll pull me over by the table and chairs and I can pick myself up"

 :trx: Yea looking at the pics of the dog who has a boxer type of narrow neck. Sounds like the guy could use a working piece of equipment where the dog could get a lot better leverage to help him up. Some of those Ruff wear webbing type harnesses where you can grab from the side or the soft handle on top would work. :paw: 
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Magesteff on December 26, 2011, 07:06:21 PM
Thanks Nora, I was having trouble selecting and copying the correct paragraph.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: LolaMarigolda on December 27, 2011, 04:09:45 PM
After reading the miost recent link I have to ask a question in response to something the owner/handler said:

Quote
Sak says Snickers is very well trained, and has never hurt anyone. "He has never even growled at anybody. The kids come home from school and would stop and play with him." he says

Question: Is this a safe action? I would think this puts excessive stress on the dog's neck. Shouldn't the dog be wearing a harness that the owner can grab if the dog is pulling the owner to a table or chair?

I haven't looked at the clip or any decent pics of the dog.  That said, my APBTs can easily pull 10X their body weight on their collar (we use wider flat buckle collars); same dogs can easily pull 100X their body weight in a pull harness.  Do I recommend letting them do it?  NO.  Have I occasionally had one pull me up a steep sand hill by their collar?  Yep.  Down side:  while these dogs can be incredibly strong, it can be a major (insert correct term for female dog) to know when they are hurting and doing too much of that kind of stuff can be damaging even in the best of situations.  I don't make it a habit & I know what will and wont hurt my dogs.

One article I've read said the dog had real training.  The more I'm reading, I want to bang my head.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Magesteff on December 27, 2011, 07:16:16 PM
Just to recap some of the things apparent from the articles:

1. Dog was a pet that was repurposed as a Serivce Dog when the Owner had a stroke.
2. Dog is "certified" through the "National Service Dog Registry."
3. While there is not a specific mention of how the dog was trained, one of the tasks the dog does is to pull the owner/handler to furniture when owner slips/falls out of his chair. Method used to pull - owner grabs the dogs collar, and dog drags owner while owner holds on collar. One would think that this method would eventually cause some type of damage to the dog, as a collar - even a "police issue K9 collar" is not manufactured with pulling tasks in mind.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Kirsten on December 27, 2011, 08:48:44 PM
The NSDR certification is a huge red flag.  Their customers have to have some idea that it's just for show since they don't actually have to do anything to get certified but hand over the cash.

"Oh yeah, here's the certificate I bought over the internet to prove my dog was a service dog.  All I had to do to qualify was tell them my dog was a service dog and send in $40."  But you don't hear them saying that.  Because they know they are intentionally misleading people into believing the dog has been tested and certified by some sort of authority.  That's dishonest.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: LolaMarigolda on December 28, 2011, 01:08:22 PM
The NSDR certification is a huge red flag.  Their customers have to have some idea that it's just for show since they don't actually have to do anything to get certified but hand over the cash.

"Oh yeah, here's the certificate I bought over the internet to prove my dog was a service dog.  All I had to do to qualify was tell them my dog was a service dog and send in $40."  But you don't hear them saying that.  Because they know they are intentionally misleading people into believing the dog has been tested and certified by some sort of authority.  That's dishonest.

I went and looked at the site.  It costs nothing to register, but the certificates and tags do cost.  Then there is the huge difference between being registered and certified.  Huge red flags all the way around.

That said, I saw a piece that said he won, but  I haven't had time to track the info down.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Kirsten on December 28, 2011, 01:13:15 PM
http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Judge-Allows-Pit-Bull-Disabled-Man-to-Reunite-136320353.html (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Judge-Allows-Pit-Bull-Disabled-Man-to-Reunite-136320353.html)

He didn't win the case.  It's just a temporary injunction.  Meaning he can keep the dog until the case is decided.

See also:
http://www.examiner.com/pet-rescue-in-national/city-of-aurelia-ordered-to-return-disabled-man-s-service-dog (http://www.examiner.com/pet-rescue-in-national/city-of-aurelia-ordered-to-return-disabled-man-s-service-dog)
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Brian Jones on December 28, 2011, 02:18:26 PM
Well an injunction is about all they can do quickly in the court system. I really hope both parties have all their ducks in a row when they get to the real hearing. If the city loses they can expect to pay a tidy sum of cash, if Ofc. Sac loses it could cause a lot of SD partners a good bit of grief.

I really hope his attorney has some training records, CGC & OB certs and the like and is just holding them tightly for their defense...
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: LolaMarigolda on December 28, 2011, 02:27:35 PM
Different article that states "He was paired at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago with Snickers, who helps him walk, balance and call from help in an emergency, he said."

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Judge-Allows-Pit-Bull-Disabled-Man-to-Reunite-136320353.html#ixzz1hrZZzVBc
 (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Judge-Allows-Pit-Bull-Disabled-Man-to-Reunite-136320353.html#ixzz1hrZZzVBc)

Something isn't right here.  Didn't another article say they got the dog as a pup?

Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Kirsten on December 28, 2011, 02:58:59 PM
Right or wrong, I think he would have a stronger case if the dog was trained by a recognized program.  Problem is, he certified it through a sham (the dog was never evaluated, they just declared it an SD on his say so, which is the same thing as him just saying so on his own).

Most owner-trainers do not have their ducks in a row to prove the dog was trained.  That's why I harp on it so much around here.  Just look at the Bronk case.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Brian Jones on December 28, 2011, 03:52:59 PM
I agree Kristen I could not believe how many scamers are out there that you send them cash and they send you a pretty printed piece of paper. I ran up on a few like this when it came to police K9 work also some trainers with less then ideal notions on certifying the team(s). I have been researching and getting my trainers lined up for more than a year now for my pup and I am still very green when it comes to what I need to have to prove myself, do the team right and make sure I show myself as a positive foundation when it comes to SD's. We really don't know Ofc. Sac or what he has been told of SD's, he may think (or may have) a qualified service dog. I would hope being a retired officer he would know or have some foundation on the ADA. The media has only put out tidbits of information and the only thing we really know is that he used a BS online program. I guess we will know in a few months when it goes in front of a judge (hopefully out of that town).
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: labs4ever on December 28, 2011, 04:36:25 PM
(raises hand)  I have  a training log that I kept for Sophie!!! :smile:  and I  add to it if we do a new task, like the fridge when we moved in here.  :smile:  Training logs are easy,  all OTers should do it.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: HumSD on December 28, 2011, 08:03:34 PM
I keep a tiny notebook and pen in my purse and make notes in it about what we are working on.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: Sheenar on December 28, 2011, 08:18:45 PM
And someone posted in my FB SD group that the man won his case.  :???:

I commented, but chose to stay away from addressing the NSDR issue --I don't have the energy or desire to deal with the can of worms that could open at this time.
Title: Re: Disabled Chicago cop denied pit bull service dog launches landmark ...
Post by: LolaMarigolda on December 28, 2011, 09:23:08 PM
I keep a tiny notebook and pen in my purse and make notes in it about what we are working on.

I did that when Scooter was in training and then would transfer over everything every couple of days to the day planner type thing I was using.  I bought them (planners) in bulk (they were generic and didn't have the year on them) so I'd have space for training notes or anything else important.  Then started compiling a spreadsheet to calculate the exact number of hours spent on basic OB, intermediate, advanced, task work, and PA.

When I knew we were going to Korea, I bought some more to log all of the additional things he had to adapt to; I had never been where public transport was common let alone going to be my main mode of getting around.  His "training" (mainly walking down the aisle to an empty set of seats) was the shuttle bus from our housing area to base and then the various base buses so by the time I took him on Seoul buses, I had built up my confidence; he never lacked for it and took to it like a duck to water.