Golden Retriever Elli’s mom receives an apology – Update

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Disabled L.I. Lawyer Says Court Frowned on Her Service Dog
1010 WINS Boroughs and ‘Burbs pages: Long Island, Photo by Mona Rivera

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — A disabled lawyer has received an apology after being asked to wait outside the courtroom with her service dog, 1010 WINS has learned. …

Waters was given an apology from the department and was promised it would never happen again, 1010 WINS reported.

[This is an update to our previous post on Jeanie and Eli.]

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2nd update: Lawyer’s service dog can return to court
BY EDEN LAIKIN, Newsday
April 20, 2007, 5:58 PM EDT

Elli will have her day in court. The 9-year-old golden retriever, who was barred from a county courtroom this week with her owner — a quadriplegic attorney — will be allowed access in the future. And so will other disabled residents who require the help of trained service or guide dogs.

In a telephone call Friday, Pat Reilly, the executive director of the Nassau County Traffic Violations Agency, apologized to Jeanie Waters after staffers denied access to Elli, and assured her that the episode would not be repeated.

“Customer service is my highest priority and if someone is not treated fairly, I make every attempt to investigate and get back to them and apologize for the agency if they feel like they had a bad experience,” Reilly said.

“That’s all I wanted,” Waters of Rockville Centre responded. “I couldn’t imagine this happening to somebody else … This was the first time in my life I could not convince someone to let me in.”

Reilly said she notified staffers, including the agency’s private security guards who stopped Elli from entering the courtroom on Tuesday, about protections under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act as well as agency protocols on service and guide-dogs.

Later, Waters got another interesting call — from state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). Skelos has been working with the state Division of Human Rights on legislation that would clarify existing laws regarding guide, hearing and service dogs.

The bill would define service dog as one “trained to work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability by a recognized hearing dog training center.”

Currently, it illegal to discriminate against a disabled person on the basis of his or her use of such a dog. “It’s to make sure that schools and courts won’t have the ability to hang their hat on some technicality,” said Tracy Lloyd, Skelos’ chief of staff. “We want to clean this up and make sure it doesn’t happen down the road.”

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Service Golden Retriever Elli thrown out of court!

Skelos Presents Senate Achievers’ Award Rockville Centre Resident Jeanie Waters
Monday, June 5, 2006

New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) presented Ms. Jeanie Waters, Esq. from Rockville Centre with the New York State Senate Achievers’ Award during the 26th annual Senate Disability Awareness Day at the State Capitol in Albany on May 23rd. This award recognizes the recipient’s ability to overcome personal and physical challenges and celebrates both their accomplishments and contributions to the community.

“Jeanie is an achiever in every sense of the word and is truly deserving of this award,” said Senator Skelos. “She is an inspiration who hasn’t allowed her physical limitations to limit her in any way and, by sharing her talent and time with young people, she’s helping them fulfill their potential.”

Ms. Waters was born with Muscular Dystrophy. At age 17, she broke her upper spine, paralyzing many of her lower body functions. Demonstrating leadership at a young age, she became a representative on the Rockville Centre Economic Opportunity Commission’s (“EOC”) Board of Directors. In addition, she helped start a new program promoting legal rights for handicapped youth.

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Now that you have a pretty good idea about how special Jeanie is, look at the treatment she recently got trying to do her job as an attorney. I think it puts it into such a better perspective.

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Lawyer’s dog has no day in court
BY EDEN LAIKIN, Newsday

Jeanie Waters, a quadriplegic attorney, has been around the world with her service dog, Elli. But the pair couldn’t get into a courtroom in Hempstead this week. Employees at the Nassau County Traffic Violations Agency on Tuesday night refused to let the 9-year-old golden retriever into the courtroom where her owner was to argue a case, said Waters, of Rockville Centre.

After Waters insisted that she could not be without the dog, agency staff allowed Waters to arrange a plea deal for her client in the hallway.

Officials at the traffic agency, however, deny that they refused Waters courtroom access. “We strongly recommended that the dog stay in an area where there were less people,” said David Rich, the agency’s chief deputy director. “There was a full waiting room, and we thought the dog might feel confined or people might be afraid of it.”

The agency’s executive director has since told security guards, who are supplied by a private company, that the next time someone comes in with a service dog to find a supervisor immediately.

Meanwhile, Waters, 48, is considering legal action and has retained a Hempstead attorney, Fred Brewington, who said the agency is offering excuses. “When government officials make a mistake, they have to learn that it’s all right to admit we made a mistake and we’ll do better, rather than engage in a shell game that is bound to lead to costing the taxpayers money,” he said.

It’s against state civil rights law to deny anyone with a disability and their service dogs access to public areas.

Waters, who suffered a spinal cord injury while fixing a car in 1984, said a police liaison at the courthouse said no dogs were allowed in the courtroom. The liaison said she would hold Elli while Waters went into the courtroom. “I said, ‘No, that’s why I have a service dog,'” said Waters, who added the arrangement was unacceptable. “She didn’t even know what a service dog was.”

Elli helps Waters, who also has muscular dystrophy, by pulling her wheelchair, holding her briefcase and picking up things she drops, Waters said. If she falls, the dog will either help her up or get someone to help. “Elli has been to other courthouses and jails,” Waters said. “She goes to church just about every week.” And they have been together to the traffic violations agency two or three times before, said Waters.

Waters got Elli seven years ago and they were trained to work together — Elli even turns lights on and helps do the laundry, Waters said. “People joke that Elli does the plea bargaining for me,” she said. “We go everywhere. It would be like saying: leave your wheelchair home and crawl in.”

More contaminants found in pet food — are we at risk as well?

Humans at risk from tainted pet food?
By Karen Roebuck, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Friday, April 20, 2007

Federal officials confirmed Thursday they are investigating whether pork products intended for humans are contaminated with the same industrial chemical that prompted a massive pet food recall and sickened cats and dogs nationwide.

Researchers also have identified three other contaminants in the urine and kidneys of animals sickened or killed after eating the recalled foods, including cyanuric acid, a chemical commonly used in pool chlorination, three researchers told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Cyanuric acid is what most likely sickened pets, one researcher said.

Melamine previously was found in the recalled pet food and two ingredients — wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate — as well as in the urine, blood, kidneys and tissues of infected animals.

The Trib learned yesterday that melamine-contaminated feed was fed to hogs.The FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are investigating. Some animals that are believed to have eaten the contaminated food were slaughtered and sold as food before authorities learned their feed had been contaminated, said Nancy Lungren, spokeswoman for the California agriculture department. …

Researchers isolated a spoke-like crystal in pet food, wheat gluten and in the urine, kidneys and tissues of infected animals. That crystal serves as a marker for determining what animals were sickened in the outbreak. About 30 percent of those crystals are made up of melamine, one investigator said, and researchers spent several weeks trying to identify what is in the remainder.

Finding cyanuric acid is the more significant finding, Hoff, Goldstein and Mullaney said, although they are not yet certain how toxic it is to animals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site said, “When ingested (by humans) in large amounts, the substance may have effects on the kidneys, resulting in tissue lesions.”

FDA Asks if Pet Food Tainted on Purpose

FDA Asks if Pet Food Tainted on Purpose
ANDREW BRIDGES | AP | April 19, 2007 05:50 PM EST

WASHINGTON — Imported ingredients used in recalled pet food may have been intentionally spiked with an industrial chemical to boost their apparent protein content, federal officials said Thursday.

That’s one theory being pursued by the Food and Drug Administration as it investigates how the chemical, melamine, contaminated at least two ingredients used to make more than 100 brands of dog and cat foods.

So far, melamine’s been found in both wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China. Media reports from South Africa suggest a third pet food ingredient, corn gluten, used in that country also was contaminated with melamine. That tainted ingredient has not been found in the United States, the FDA said.

FDA investigators, meanwhile, are awaiting visas that would allow them to visit the Chinese plants where the vegetable protein ingredients were produced.

“Melamine was found in all three of those _ it would certainly lend credibility to the theory that it may be intentional. That will be one of the theories we will pursue when we get into the plants in China,” Stephen Sundlof, the FDA’s chief veterinarian, told reporters.

Mother’s Day Y-Me Race for Breast Cancer: An Empowering Tradition

Sheila and Bob Johnson, special friends and Golden lovers (and parents) for over 30 years, have asked for our support of their daughter-in-law’s running in the Mother’s Day Y-Me Race for Breast Cancer.

My mom died from metastatic breast cancer in 1983, and there isn’t a day that has gone by that I do not miss her. The theme to my foundation’s site, LIVE LOVE LAUGH, actually comes from a piece of jewelry that I had bought her for a birthday present, as it so embodied her attitude toward living.

You can get to Jennifer Johnson’s support page by clicking here. Please do think about helping the cause!

A Blind Golden Retriever Ming Adopted


Blind dog from Taiwan finds a new home in America
By Stephen Che, The China Post

A blind golden retriever named Ming has found a new life in the U.S. while capturing the hearts of Americans thanks to efforts by Taiwan’s Association of Homeless Animals Garden (AHAG) and animal adoption groups in the U.S.

Ming was born blind and abandoned in a university campus in Yunlin County when he was picked up by animal rescue workers who reported the case to AHAG in Taipei.

After giving medical treatment to Ming, AHAG then proceeded to search for an adopter for Ming, posting Ming’s photo and information on its website. Through a golden retriever association in the U.S., a couple who resides in Seattle obtained knowledge of Ming and contacted an AHAG volunteer who lived in the U.S., offering to adopt Ming on a trial basis.

Ming was received at the airport in U.S. by the couple under much fanfare as numerous U.S. media outlets picked up the story. The local Fox news station ran follow up reports on Ming’s progress, which was even broadcast by the national network.

The Seattle couple later decided to permanently adopt Ming.

There’s more . . . .

Golden Retriever Caleb & his Mom both battling Lymes

Lyme Disease on the Rise
By Jaime Meyers, Whptv.com

Lyme Disease is a growing problem across the country, and Pennsylvania is no different. More people and pets are being diagnosed with the tick-borne disease every year.

Playtime isn’t quite the same for York County resident Gail Sheffer and her nine year old golden retriever mix, Caleb. They both have been battling Lyme disease for years. It started with a rash on her leg for Gail. She says she started getting the classic symptoms like joint pain, migraines, chronic fatigue, and flu-like symptoms.

Caleb was diagnosed with a simple test at the vet, but for Gail, it took several months for her diagnosis. Then her husband and two daughters learned they also had Lyme disease. The family spent nearly $20,000 on medical care last year, the eldest daughter had to drop out of college, and physical therapy, along with lots of antibiotics have become a way of life.

Gail says she wants people to know, in general, the sooner they are treated, the better off they’ll be.

There’s lots more with a great video news clip . . . .