Wednesday, July 28, 2021

How do blind people pick up after their dogs?

     Four times a day, Leslie takes her black Lab for a walk outside her home in the northwest suburbs. “Get busy,” she commands.
     If you’re wondering why you’re reading a third column in a week about picking up after dogs, well, stick with me, and you’ll see there is no choice here. Some threads simply must be pulled.
     If you recall, Monday’s column quotes the Cook County animal law, Sec. 10.8 (r): “No person shall fail to remove feces deposited by the person’s cat or dog, except service animals...”
     This drew an email from former Sun-Times book editor, Henry Kisor.
     “Your column today, with all the poop about designer poo bags ... was interesting — and shocking,” he wrote. “Shocking in your citation of the Cook County law about cleaning up after your dog. Why should handlers of service dogs be exempt from that? I use a service dog, and like all other service dog handlers I have ever known, I clean up after my dog.”
     I replied that perhaps the clause is meant not for people who are deaf, like Henry, but for the blind. How could a blind person pick up after a dog?
     “The way I pick up after my dog, first of all, feel for her movement,” said Leslie, who asked me not to use her last name. “I can tell she’s moving around in circles, or sniffing, through the leash.”
     She also didn’t want me to use her dog’s name, lest someone read the article, see her on the street, and shout “Rover!” or whatever, and come over and pet the dog. You’re not supposed to do that. Service dogs are working.
     “You don’t want to give someone a chance to distract the dog, for safety reasons,” she said.

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  1. Yes it seems reasonable that disabled people should not be excused from cleaning up after their service animals when that is a task they're capable of doing. However, I the penalty for missing a turd or two should not be too severe.


  2. My brother, also blind since birth, is so independent I often forget that he's blind.
    Reading a book now called No Barriers by Buddy Levy and Erik Weihenmayer which traces Erik's life as an outdoor adventurer (i.e. white water kayaking, mountaineering, etc.).
    Pretty amazing.


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