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Man's Best Friend Abandoned to Fate!

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Application of law, to be equitable, should vary from case to case. The service dog of a disabled person who is dependent upon his dog does seem to have a different status than ordinary pets, who though lovable, do not play an indispensable role in the survival of its owner. An exception cannot create a general rule, and we depend upon the courts to grant remedy in exceptional circumstances where the system does not provide established relief.

It does seem quixotic and makes me wonder how the case was prepared and presented, for the hands of the Court are usually tied down by proof and pleadings on record. Though in exceptional cases, the Courts do have power to act suo motu, clearly upkeep of a dog would have to be properly and intelligently presented to prompt the courts to take a favorable decision.


It seems awful in this case since the disabled person's fundamental Right to Life, the very reason for which the system allows him food stamps, becomes infringed when the law fails to secure the life of the dog on which the disabled is dependent. I may be biased for I am awfully fond of dogs. But I was under the impression that we have progressed enough to recognize our world does not belong only to humans but also to other forms of life.

When it concerns dogs, which are single-mindedly devoted to humans and the protection of humans, a species that finds place over and over in human literature, in cave paintings, in memorials and statues, it is hard to digest that the system is ready to abandon them in the name of the letter of the law. It is difficult to believe that our system is not strong enough to provide support to the service dog of a disabled person.

It is more disconcerting in face of the fact that the bench has gone on record with Judge Renee Cohn's obiter: ''This court is sympathetic to [Douris'] argument that his service dog is a necessity for him due to his disability, and that he lacks the funds to properly feed his service dog... We hope that there is some other state or federal program that might provide for the maintenance and upkeep of the dog.''

I was under the impression that in a democratic country with full separation of powers, courts had the authority to direct the creation of programs if such was deemed necessary. That even the court finds itself expressing sympathies without concurrent affirmative action leaves me wondering what actually happened. What is the status of man's best friend in U.S. society?


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Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

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