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JoAnna Lou
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Exception Granted in Service Pit Bull Case
An Iowa breed ban was found to be in violation of the ADA

I'm not a fan of breed bans. They make a sweeping generalization about a whole group of dogs, while trying to solve a problem without getting to the root of the problem—irresponsible pet ownership. There are so many great dogs that get hurt by this type of legislation.

Snickers is a great example of how a breed ban unfairly discriminates against responsible dog lovers. James Sak, a disabled retired police officer, has relied on his Pit Bull mix, Snickers, since a stroke confined him to a wheelchair in 2008. The University of Illinois Medical Center paired the two together to help Sak walk, balance, and call for help in an emergency.

In November, Sak moved to Aurelia, Iowa to help care for his wife's elderly mother. Within a few days, Sak was ordered to re-home Snickers due to an ordinance that bans Pit Bulls in Aurelia.

Sak claimed that the ban violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and last week a federal judge agreed. Thankfully, an injunction was filed so that Snickers could live with James.

You can't judge a whole group of dogs based on a few exceptions. Hopefully Snickers' story will help show that there are many great Pit Bulls in the world. 

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by the Sak family.

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