Thursday, April 8, 2010

Denver and Aurora Face Federal Class Action Lawsuits for Alleged ADA Violations

Two military veterans and a disabled woman are suing the city of Aurora, county of Denver and the head of Denver animal services for violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both Aurora and Denver include service animals in their Pit Bull ban. That means Pit Bulls who are service animals, providing physical or emotional support to their owners, can legally be killed or removed from the city.

Denver already spends thousands annually on fighting court cases over its breed specific legislation.

The lawsuit is being filed by Allen Grider who is a Vietnam war veteran. He has a dog, Precious, who has provided emotional and psychological support. The dog is a mixed breed and was rescued from a shelter. She spent 10 days in Aurora's animal shelter before Grider's friend - from a non-bsl city - could rescue her. The dog has been with Grider for seven years. She has since been reunited with Grider.

Two other plaintiffs, a gulf war veteran and a disabled woman, have certified service animals who happen to be Pit Bulls. One lives in Denver.

This will be an interesting case. Most cities with breed specific legislation exempt certified service animals. Denver and Aurora don't. I think the cities face an uphill battle on this one, but we'll just have to wait and see. Great use of taxpayers funds, am I right?

9 comments:

EmilyS said...

page 6 of the complaint.. Grider is illiterate and informed the officer that he couldn't read the document but the officer made him sign it anyway.

is Denver f'ng kidding?????

Rinalia said...

The whole debacle is offensive on all levels. Denver is a shining example of how not to do things.

Luke said...

It costs most Counties millions of dollars to run animal control, and most dogs impounded are pit bulls and pit bull mixes. "Spending thousands" to defend their right to ban pit bulls (which Home Insurance Companies do themselves have a pit bull ban), is chump change compaired to the overall costs of animal control. The pit bull ban actually saves the municipalities a LOT of money-reducing pit bull impoundings (by banning breeding them), and when pit bulls bite-they mangle flesh. File the frivilous law suits-there are OTHER dogs that could have been service dogs-they CHOSE to use pit bulls, and pay the city their legal fees from your disability money.

Jennie said...

Luke, that's like saying it's OK to purposefully not hire women or racial minorities because "there are other people you could choose to hire." Pit Bulls are often highly intelligent, loyal, affectionate and very physical dogs. If their temperaments are suitable, these traits make them excellent psychiatric service dogs. Maybe they choose the best dog for them, not just any dog that would work.

Car accidents kill and maim more people per year than all dogs put together. We don't need cars to live, we can CHOOSE to use OTHER forms of transporation. Lets ban cars!

Rinalia said...

Luke, so you think $250,000 enforcing a law that does not improve public safety is mere chump change?

As to service dogs, I love that you just want to say a big Fuck You to folks with disabilities and PTSD. You seem to feel they don't deserve equal protection under the law because their nonviolent, temperamentally sound dogs happen to look a certain way. What a winning argument.

Ashley (the mom), Dixie (the Catahoula) and sometimes Lola (the Pit Bull) said...

Luke,
How many service dogs have you had? How many have you raised? What is your disability?
I'm gonna make a wild guess and say 0, 0 and nothing.
I AM disabled. My service dog is a natural alerter and was a pet before I was disabled. After extensive temperament testing and training (SDs can take up to 2 years to train) she is a full, legal service dog. She is also a Catahoula, who has a big head and broad chest, thus easily mistaken for a pit bull. She is solid as a rock, doesn't react too anything and is probably more well behaved than most dogs you've met. That is the NORM for service dogs. TEMPERMENT not looks is what we care about.
HOW DARE you say that I and every other person with a pit bull or can be confused for a pit bull service dog just get a new dog? Do you have any idea how traumatizing that would be? How expensive it would be? How long and hard the process is to get one for each person's specific needs? How there are many disabilities that there is no school for? How hard finding a good SD candidate is?
HOW DARE you make a disparaging remark about being disabled. It is fucking hell to not be able to have independence and you better believe any disabled person will grasp at any straw they can to gain even a bit more independence.
Would I fight for my dog? Hell yea I would. She is the reason I can safely go out in public.
I also want to know how much ADA reading you've done? Not much. This is an obvious violation.
No. You don't. You just make ignorant remarks.
Well, you know what? I think cities should ban people named Luke because they are obviously ignorant and vicious. They can find plenty of other people to fill their cities.

Rinalia said...

Thanks for commenting, Ashley. Luke does not understand what it takes to train a certified service animal or the bond that develops.

Give Dixie lots of skritches and hugs from me and the ladies. :)

Luke said...

I've seen a ton of service dogs that are not pit bulls. The fact that a person chose to own a pit bull where they are banned, sounds in my opinion deliberate. You all speak as though pit bulls were the ONLY dogs around. The fact is there are other breeds, so my question is why does one choose a pit bull when there are thousands of others to chose from and CHOOSE to live in a locale that has laws against them. And take it up with Home Owner's insurance. As for "discrimination", I don't see a single word in the US Constitution about dogs. I would love to own a miniature goat for a pet, and a goose too - but the law forbids me. So am I too being discriminated against?

I've seen authoritative articles written by pediatricians and thoracic surgeons that state pit bulls were mostly the culprits when children get mangled. They are the ones who must repair the damage.

Pit bulls are also used by thugs, gangs and dog fighters. In Lancaster, California when they enacted their pit bull ban, there was officially a 45% DROP in gang activities in just six months.

http://www.cityoflancasterca.org/index.aspx?recordid=1459&page=20

"“One of the most immediate and meaningful results (of pit bull ban), we have seen from our aggressive action is a plummeting gang crime rate in Lancaster. In 2009 alone, violent gang crime, which includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, was reduced an astounding 45% and overall gang crime was reduced 41%,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. "

Rinalia said...

Luke, of course there are a ton of service dogs who are not Pit Bulls. So what?

As to the accusation of choosing a Pit Bull where they are banned. The vietnam vet thought he had a mixed breed. And the others have every right to move into a city where Pit Bulls are banned with their certified service dogs - if stores, restaurants, employers are beholden to the ADA regardless of whether the dog is a Pit Bull or not, why on earth should cities be exempt?

If you had a certified service goat or goose, then yes, you would be discriminated against. I would support your right to have any type of domestic, reasonably sized service animal. If you didn't go anywhere, I'd support your right to have any sized domestic service animal. You bring that suggestion up everywhere you comment, I notice.

As to Lancaster, well Luke, no Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are not banned. They must be castrated. I wrote about it as well: http://for-the-pits.blogspot.com/2010/01/correlation-does-not-equal-causation.html. End point: Correlation does not equal causation. There is not one shred of statistically significant evidence that removing the testicles and ovaries of Pit Bulls and Rottweilers CAUSES a reduction in gang crime. Reductions in gang crime occurred in neighboring areas w/o mandatory castration. It was, i think, one of the sillier suggestions made by a politician regarding dogs and crime.

Pit Bulls are owned by lots of different folks. So what?