Service Dog In 'Jail' Because He's Part Pit Bull


Proof that no good deed goes unpunished, being a Chicago police officer for 32 years – that’s a good deed, far starters.

Then Jim Sak retires and moves to a tiny town in Iowa to help care for his ailing 87 year old mother-in-law, as Fran Spielman reported in the Chicago Sun Times.

Jim suffered a stroke a couple of years, and he has a service dog. No big deal. In fact, service dogs are worth celebrating,  you’d think….The dog, Snickers, quietly goes about his work, helping Jim to perform daily tasks, and offering support and independence, as well as companionship. There are thousands of service dogs across the country. In fact, their good is documented.

I don’t know Jim, but typically people with service dogs for conditions like his may actually require less medication or a smaller dosage of meds – yes, the service dogs do that much good. Other members of the household may be more productive not having to worry about Jim because Snickers is at his side.

In fact, the U.S. Government officially supports service dogs for returning veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, and physical needs because not only is it the right thing to do, it’s economically advantageous. If fewer meds are needed and people with dogs can contribute to the economy instead of  taking from it – makes sense.

The American for Disabilities Act (ADA)  guarantees people with dsiabilities ‘the right’ to have a service dog. The ADA says nothing about limitations of the kind of dogs they may or may not have.

It turns out that Sak unknowingly moved to a a town, Aurelia, where there’s a ban against Pit Bulls. Actually, Snickers isn’t a Pit Bull, but instead is a Pit Bull mix – at least maybe. No matter, the townsfolk and local officials enforced their ordinance, and assume Snickers is ‘close enough’ to a Pit Bull. And as a result, Sak’s service dog and best friend has been languishing in a kennel just beyond the city limits.

This is downright cruel for a dog who did nothing wrong. This is downright cruel to do to Saks, who enjoys a far better quality of life with his service dog. Moreover, what they’re doing is against Federal law. Still, local officials there – who in my view are apparently ignorant – don’t seem to care.

Of course, Pit Bull bans make no sense, at least if the intent is to lessen number of dog attacks, that doesn’t happen. There’s no science to demonstrate Pit Bulls (or dogs identified as Pit Bulls) are inherently dangerous….and I can and have argued these points and others concerning breed bans in various public forums….But in this instance, there’s a little thing called Federal Law. I am not lawyer but don’t need to be one to figure this one out.

It seems over-riding all this, there’s right and wrong – and common sense….Talk about your Scrooge – how could anyone advocate taking a service dog away from someone just because you don’t like the breed that dog happens to be? (Or the breed you think he happens to be).

The Animal Farm Foundation says the group has hired an attorney to represent the Sak family and is paying to board the dog at the out-of-town kennel, pending the legal challenge.

It’s astounding to believe it’s come to that.