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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sky Zoos: Turkeys and Doggies and Pigs, Oh My!

Before we get into the AD OF THE WEEK/MONTH/WHATEVER, I want to note my quick disclaimer: I like dogs and animals. As a former pro bono contributor to the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) and a former dog and cat owner for thirty years, I like our domesticated four-legged creatures. But enough is enough...

Jean Dujardin and Uggie the dog. credit: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.
Your dog belongs in a handful of places:

-Your home
-In your yard, on a leash
-At the vet getting a check-up, and
-At a designated dog park

Your dog should not be:

-At a restaurant
-Walking down the aisle of a supermarket
-At your feet while sipping your cup of joe at a Starbucks, or
-On an airplane
-The office
-At the Academy Awards. "Who would do that?" you ask. In 2012, when Jean Dujardin, winner of the Oscar® for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his role in The Artist brought Uggie the dog I rolled my eyes. Okay, so Uggie logged some serious screen time in the Academy Award winning film, but did he need a handler following him around the red carpet and backstage with a plastic bag in case of accidents? I think not. Most in attendance that day agreed with me, but no one would dare say it to someone with a microphone.

Pets can poop on the fly at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
In the new America where everyone is hypersensitive to racism, misogyny and equality, I find it funny that we seem to worry more about animal rights than our fellow neighbor when given the opportunity. The overt bullying towards the offending party that complains about an animal on a plane is growing. Take the seven-year-old boy who was in tears as passengers applauded as he was removed from the plane because of allergies. Yeah, stay classy Washington.

There's a raging controversy that is gathering steam. And why not? Turkeys horses, pigs and more in the friendly skies?

When will it end?

A service pig? Really...?
Well, it just might not.

The law allowing service animals in public under the Americans With Disabilities Act is being openly mocked by pet owners improperly passing their animals off into the service category. As most of us are aware the law was put into place so the blind could be guided by dogs and them loosened up so people with stress disorders could have the companionship of their comfort dogs.

How many of us are buying that a 35-year-old can’t be without his or her pet and insists on flying it all over the country or putting it into a shopping cart so it can go into your local Krogers? You can call Bob, your pet turkey, a service animal and there's nothing anyone can do about it. They don't even need a leash and for the informed, a turkey without a leash can be quite dangerous.

He's working...!
I don't want to put my black heart on display, but if life is such a high wire act that you can't go out without the comforting re-assurance of your poochie who surely defecates in public and licks up his own vomit, you might want to consider staying home altogether.

Most us us understand that most service animals are (wink, wink) not really anything close to that. They are simply for people who are so self-centered that they just feel it is their right to have their animal of choice with them 24/7.


I love that you love your animals, but understand that the rest of us don't love your animals, especially when it's cleaning its nether-regions while I'm trying to enjoy my $5 Nescafé espresso with milk.

Back to the Americans With Disabilities Act a minute...The intent of the law was to help free barriers to the disabled – not the lazy or egomaniac. Accommodating real needs should be expressly met. Trumped up ones should be told to take a hike (of course with the aid of their pet).

I know that no one cares, but how would you like to the by the woman in the middle seat next to one of three dogs on a flight. She had to move. Did anyone volunteer to help? No. The few that were asked just floated stares in the direction of the asthmatic woman who actually could have died from an in-flight allergic reaction.

What next? Service cockroaches? Sounds funny, sure, but it's a slippery slope what is allowed today and what will be eventually allowed later.

Here’s Cal Worthington and his dog Spot!
circa 1981

Anyone who grew up in Southern California in the 1970s undoubtedly remembers the television commercials featuring consummate car salesman/entertainer Cal Worthington and his menagerie of sidekicks who were anything but dogs. Dressed in western wear and cowboy hat, Cal paraded around his car lots leading wild or exotic animals around on leashes – or riding them – lions, tigers, elephants, whales – often against a backdrop of circus tents or wagons. A catchy song with several verses – and versions – cemented the master showman’s place in car circus history.