Letters & Comments

We heard from all you canine defenders. Boy, did we.

Re: "Blinded by the Bite" by Mike Seely (July 30)WOW! I didn't know ignorant was spelled T-a-f-t. It's not a specific breed that attacked her, it was a specific dog. Get over it.—PeterPeople don't realize that a service dog is not a normal dog. They are there for the benefit of us, not the public to pet and cuddle. So leave my dog alone, people. Also, Mrs. Taft, why don't you wear a vest that says "I hate pets!"— Christie KrauszowskiSo her claim to expertise on service animals rests on...being bitten? I was bitten as a kid by a Labrador, and today I use a Labrador mix as a service dog. Amazing what a difference being actually disabled makes to your worldview, eh? He gave me my life back after a very traumatic incident.All service dogs qualifying for protection under the ADA are chosen and trained specifically so they will not be aggressive toward the public, and to obey well, not interfere with other people inappropriately, not jump on furniture, etc. However, when I say "not be aggressive," the truth is that all bets are off in the case of aggressive interference and attacks by members of the public. As it should be. A disabled person does not lose the right to self-defense merely because the person has a service dog.It's the dog's behavior, training, and purpose that matters, not the shape or color. But it's tough some days, because most toy-breed dogs are incapable of acting like service dogs. Right now, 80% of fakers are carrying their purse-dogs in the stores and claiming they are service dogs, which seriously undermines real service-dog users. Worse, small dogs that are aggressive can change open-door policies for dogs overnight, simply because they, thanks to purses and baskets, are put in situations where they can and will bite store employees. I would encourage all business currently having an open-pet-dog policy to clearly post that the dogs must be leashed and have their feet on the ground, and that all dogs exhibiting aggression may be evicted at the pleasure of management.—JenniferMay I ask what disabled looks like? Epilepsy is often invisible, diabetes, uncontrolled psychotic disorders are often not noticeable, and validly used dogs for these types of things exist. Only a completely selfish person, with completely selfish motives, would even consider fighting against the rights of disabled citizens to limit us even more when we are already so limited. —ReneeBoth the ADA and Washington law allow for the removal of a dog that's creating a nuisance or causing safety issues. For example, a dog that's unruly, barking, or aggressive (even without physical contact) could legally be removed, even if it were a service dog [according] to Ms. Taft's standards. But I suppose she'd be happier seeing thousands or more people returned to the closets or other darkened places where the disabled were once kept, rather than have to face her dog fears and accept that others have rights just like she does.—DeeI loved this article because it so accurately depicts Taft's lack of sensibility or knowledge of dogs as service or companion animals. Her own words scream of ignorance and hate. As a responsible owner of three beautiful and well-mannered adopted pit bulls, I have to laugh, because with each public attempt Ellen Taft makes to discredit the breed I and so many others love, she just unites us further. Keep it up, Ms. Taft. I keep meeting great new responsible dog people that share the same opinion I do of you. Your ignorant efforts against dogs, especially pit bulls, and your public statements of self-imposed victimization just validate our peaceful, sane existence even more.—ColetteI own two dogs, but the service-dog b.s. in Seattle is amazing. I have heard plenty of people brag about their "service dog" that does nothing. A Chihuahua as a service dog? My opinion is that if a dog does not help you navigate or do something physical (blind or physically handicapped), it is bullshit. Just like those people with asthma who parked in handicapped spaces.—Dog OwnerThere are children that are more of a nuisance than dogs! I say dogs should gain access to more places!—VRe: "Home Flipper" by Jesse Froehling (July 23)As bad is the new law is, and as misguided as Sen. Brian Weinstein was in trying to "craft" it, I have to agree with him regarding the AG's involvement. It is disingenuous to suggest, as the AG's office has, that's it's not their fault or that the new language was added at the 11th hour without their approval.—Joe KaiserWe learned about the striker legislation the morning our assistant attorneys general walked into Sen. Weinstein's committee. AAG James Sugarman was provided less than a minute to testify, and he stated that we believed our initial bill was a more simple and effective law. While we had no objection, in principle, to the concept of foreclosure-consultant legislation as enacted in other states (which all exempted real estate agents), no one mentioned this significant departure from the model used in other states. Furthermore, the added language never had a committee hearing in the House.—Kristin Alexander, spokesperson for Attorney General Rob McKennaSeattleBubble.com noted that active listings fell by 500 in June. That's the same month this horribly drafted law went into effect, and I don't think that's mere coincidence. Some agents are prohibited by their brokers from taking these listings. And in my opinion, only the least risk-adverse (or ignorant) agent would take such listings. But the worst of it is, innocent buyers can get caught up in this act, because in certain situations a buyer becomes a fiduciary of the seller. Complete nonsense. The sad thing is that the people hurt by this aren't the attorneys, the real-estate agents, or the politicians, it's the people in financial distress whom the act was intended to help! Fewer buyers are looking at their properties, and when offers come in they may contain the new "Form NFW" which will allow the buyer to void the transaction. The good intentions of the drafters and the politicians goes out the window when they choose really poor language to express themselves in legislation.—Kary KrismerWrite to us at letters@seattleweekly.com or comment online!

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