Service Pit Bulls Get a Reprieve

January 17, 2012  

Love-A-Bull shares the story of one family who had to fight to keep their service dog due to discrimination

Reprinted with permission from Love-A-Bull.org.

In December, we were all at the edge of our seats, closely monitoring the big ADA case involving retired Chicago police officer Jim Sak and his pit bull type service dog, Snickers. We all breathed sighs of relief and did a little happy dance when the federal court ruled for Sak to be able to keep his dog despite the town’s breed-discriminatory legislation against pit bull type dogs.

But in the meantime, we were fighting our own parallel case right here in Texas. A San Antonio family contacted Love-A-Bull in mid-December after their landlord refused the family’s pet deposit and threatened to evict them due to their pit bull type service dog’s breed. The Buentellos have an 8-year-old child with autism/pervasive developmental disorder and a 4-year old that recently had both of his lower legs amputated through the knee as the result of a birth deformity/abnormality. Additionally, the father has limited mobility due to cancer, which has left him with only one hip.

The more senior dog – 12 years old – has been working with the family for years, and the younger – 2 years old – is currently a service dog in training, assisting the boys in their mobility and physical and emotional security.

Even with confirmation from the family’s pediatrician and dog trainer stating that the family indeed benefits from these animals as service dogs, the landlord was insisting on further documentation – documentation that is not required by law under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Unfortunately, this situation is all too common. Many property owners and managers are not aware of their tenants’ rights under the ADA, and too many families are made to feel threatened or discriminated against because of this lack of understanding of the law. When families lack the information or resources to defend themselves and their rights, tragedy can result. As we have seen in Aurelia, Iowa, this occurs not only at the individual housing level, but at the municipal level as well.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending for the Buentellos. After numerous exchanges with the property manager’s representative lawyer, Love-A-Bull was able to secure permission for the Buentellos to stay in their housing and keep their dogs.

It is our hope that with time, discrimination against service dogs – and all dogs – based on breed will be a thing of the past. But in the meantime, we are thrilled to have helped one brave family achieve a victory that made their Christmas season a little bit sweeter.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Service Pit Bulls Get a Reprieve”
  1. juliesbubbedee says:

    You can see from the dog’s stance how seriously he takes his job! Just shows how many people have learned to speak “dog”.

  2. juliesbubbedee says:

    Dog at Work

  3. Great story, more stories such as these need to be published or made known so that those with the knowledge can assist and tragedy won’t have an opportunity to rear it’s ugly head.