Snickers the service dog to be reunited with retired police officer

James Sak and his service dog, Snickers. (Photo courtesy Animal Farm Foundation)

Here’s some great news: Snickers is going home!

You may remember that just before Christmas, retired Chicago police officer James Sak was ordered by the town council in Aurelia, Iowa, to surrender his pit bull service dog, Snickers. Aurelia has breed specific legislation that makes owning a pit bull – even a mix - illegal.

In November, Sak and his wife Peggy moved to Aurelia to be near her 87-year-old mother. Snickers went with them. The pit mix is James Sak’s service dog, giving the retired police officer assistance after a stroke left him with no feeling on the right side of his body.

But soon after they moved, the Aurelia town council ordered Sak to either move the dog or risk having Snickers confiscated and euthanized in accordance with their “no pit bull” law.

Animal activists and dog lovers across the country voiced their outrage over the town’s policy, and the Animal Farm Foundation stepped up to provide legal assistance to Sak, claiming the ban violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Today, they filed for an injunction and a federal judge ordered Snickers to be returned to the Saks immediately

Ta da! That’s fabulous news!

“Animal Farm Foundation is thrilled that Officer Sak will be reunited with his service dog, Snickers, and his safety will no longer be compromised,” says Kim Wolf, community engagement specialist for the Animal Farm Foundation, in published reports. “This case is a sad example of what happens when cities discriminate against dogs based on breed or appearance.”

The Aurelia town council can appeal the decision, and the Animal Farm Foundation is prepared to defend Sak and Snickers.

But here’s the lesson I hope you take away from this story: breed specific legislation is a very real threat to dogs who don’t deserve to be targeted simply because of their breed. Yes, dangerous dogs need to be controlled. But dog legislation needs to be based on behavior and the actions of owners, not on dog breed.

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