Service dog confusion

8 years ago

To the editor:

I would like express something that shocked me when I made a phone call to an advertising landlord recently about an apartment for rent here in Houlton. A lady answered the phone so I asked her if they had an open apartment for rent. The first question the lady quickly asked me was, “Do I have a pet?” I felt that was a perfectly appropriate question. I let the lady know that I had a small service dog.

She then asked what does that dog do? I tried to explain to her that due to childhood abuse the dog will not allow me to have night terrors. She than rudely made comment of “Is it one of those real service dogs that cost 10s of thousands of dollars and are state licensed.” I began to let her know the dog did not cost that much money but I assured her he was state certified. She rudely told me that she didn’t think so and tried to hang up, but before she could I made quick mention to her that she did not know what she was talking about.

This is the second time I have run into this type of ignorance in one week that I had thought had been washed down hillbilly lane some time ago. I feel strongly discriminated against. I believe both landlords need to be educated on landlords and service dogs. Both of them seriously violated my civil rights. A landlord cannot legally turn a state licensed service dog away.

I would hope this letter might pass along the awareness of the ignorance that still remains in our town. I believe that they should be educated and cited for discrimination.These type of behaviors are a direct violation of my civil rights and the ability to live as normally as possible. I only wish they might pick up a dictionary.They might learn a few more words — caring, compassion, patience, listening and love.

This year at The American Hero Dog Awards the state licensed service dog that won the honor was rescued from a puppy mill. No he did not cost any thousands of dollars but the pup has positively impacted and maybe saved the life of one of our own American Heroes that suffer from PTSD after serving in the war.

Shelter dogs and puppy mill rescued pups are being trained voluntarily all over the United States to save and help others like myself be able to live a nearly normal life again. News is, anyone can order one of those red vests and patches online and put it on the most vicious dog in the world. Please do not let ignorance define our community.

Sandra Polchies
Houlton