Guide Dog from the Eye Dog Foundation In October I told you the story about the custody battle that was brewing between the Eye Dog Foundation and more than 2 dozen puppy raiser volunteers.  Now that custody battle has progressed to a lawsuit.

The puppy raisers entered into a contract with the Phoenix based Eye Dog foundation to foster and raise these puppies, beautiful German Shepherds, take them to training and then relinquish them back to the Foundation so that they could be placed with the blind. Now they are refusing to do so.

The say that the Eye Dog Foundation has failed to place a single dog with the blind in the last two years. The say the dogs have been neglected at the Foundation and they what will become of the dogs if they are returned. They claim mismanagement by the board and say there is no qualified trainer currently employed by the foundation who will ensure her dog is adequately trained to be gifted to a blind recipient.

Glenn Hotchkiss who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the foundation says that there was problems in the past but that they have been taken care of.

There are 31 volunteers and 4 former employees named in the lawsuit. Since the suit has been file at least two of the volunteers have made arrangements to return the dogs.

Some of the volunteers are represented by an attorney in the lawsuit. They have the support of the National Federation of the Blind.

“I don’t blame them at all because they in good faith raised the dogs for training purposes and did not train them to be used as pets,” said Bob Kresmer, President of The National Federation of the Blind for Arizona. “It’s a shame when a school is supposedly providing a service to train dogs for blind people and goes more than a year without providing a dog. They don’t need to be in business.”

What do you think? If there are problems, should these volunteers still just return the dogs even if, as the allege, these dogs will be nothing more than “kennel dogs.” These volunteers have poured their love and time and effort into fostering, raising and caring for these dogs and they feel they have legitimate concerns the dogs have been routinely left alone at the training facility with no food and no one to look after them.

To the law, this may be no more than a cut and dried contract case, but for the volunteers, it’s much more than that.  I know that I would not be able to willing turn a dog over if I thought there was a chance it would be neglected or just stuck in a kennel.

My heart goes out the these volunteers who want only the best for these dogs they have loved and cared for, I have a feeling the end result will not be one that takes them or the dogs into consideration, after all, they are “just dogs” and someone else’s dogs at that.

Eye Dog Foundation Puppy Raisers Sued

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