Blind Woman Ordered to Give Up Her Guide Dog After It Bites Three Strangers


Connie Walker poses with Noni, who has been ordered removed from the house.
Photo via oregonlive.com

Since we post so often about guide dogs and service dogs who are mistreated, it’s fascinating to see another side of the service-dog/human interaction. A 65-year-old blind woman in Oregon has been ordered to surrender her German Shepherd mix guide dog, Noni, because it has bitten people on three separate occasions. However, the judge in the case ruled that, until the appeals process is complete, the dog may stay—provided it is muzzled outside the home and kept in a back room whenever anyone visits.

It’s a fascinating story, featuring a highly trained dog, three upset victims, a dog owner who can’t really testify to what happened, and a legal system with strict guidelines to follow.

What do you think should happen here?

Click here for the full story.

6 thoughts on “Blind Woman Ordered to Give Up Her Guide Dog After It Bites Three Strangers”

  1. She should be allowed to keep her dog. People should not approach if they’re concerned with being bitten. Most people know you don’t try to pet a service dog. Ignorance is no excuse.
    It’s very possible that the dog sensed them as a threat.

  2. she don’t deserve the dog she is making it the way it is by being violent with the dog, slapping him and violently jerking on his leash is wrong. she is putting the dog in distress and confusing him.. Stupid bitch.

  3. This story hits close to home. I’ll share a bit if you can tolerate a long post here…

    I am neither blind nor visually impaired, but I used to teach business computing skills to the blind and visually impaired. One of my former clients had a guide dog named Sandy. I had worked with clients who had guide dogs on many occasions, but for some reason I felt a strong connection with Sandy and she really responded to me as well. I would frequently joke with my client that if she ever had to get rid of Sandy for any reason that I wanted her for my own.

    To my surprise, shortly after I had concluded the training with my client, I got a call from her. Sandy was starting to randomly growl at people on the street while she was working with the owner. This of course would terrify my client as she had no idea why Sandy was growling, and it would cause a lot of fear to both my client and also to the person being growled at.

    I of course immediately agreed to take Sandy once she had been officially retired as a guide dog, and I brought her home to live with me and my wife. She quickly became a very loved member of our family. For several months I never had any issues with Sandy growling at anyone, until one day a friend of mine came over to visit and Sandy became very aggressive. Sandy cornered our friend and growled at her. I had to physically pull Sandy away from our friend for fear that she might cross the line.

    We could not understand what was gong on or what had triggered this response in Sandy towards one of our best friends. It wasn’t until we took Sandy to a regularly scheduled vet appointment that we understood. Sandy was going blind. A guide dog that was going blind.

    That is when we put the pieces together. My friend had been wearing an all black outfit, and Sandy couldn’t tell that she was a person. Just some unknown blob of a threat, and that scared her into her now understandable threat response.

    Once we knew that she was going blind, everything changed. We knew how to take care of her and we were able to steer her clear of people in certain dress that might trigger a fear response. After that, we never had another issue with her feeling threatened. She eventually did go completely blind, but we made a great home for her and took care of her until her final day.

    To this day, she is still be best dog I’ve ever had, and she is sorely missed.

    1. John – Your response is in the same grain as my own thoughts. My first though – has the dog been evaluated by a veterinarian to assess for medical needs? (Pain, sight, hearing, sugars, etc). Thanks for being so patient with your Sandy – I recently fostered a blind Lab mix, so I’m familiar with orienting our visually impaired pups to their new surroundings.

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