Longmont Daily Times-Call, Colorado.
Saturday, May 06, 2006.
ERIE - Jamie Carley gave up her guide dog, Racer, in December after a neighbor's dog attacked and injured it.
Now that neighbor has to find another home for his Labrador/chow mix, so Carley can receive another guide dog, a judge ruled this week. If that's not possible within 30 days, Bear must be destroyed.
Erie Municipal Court Judge Fred Steele's order contradicts what he said in court April 11, when he decided Bear was a vicious dog because of the Oct. 12 attack on Racer. Then, Steele said he would not order Bear be euthanized.
However, as long as Bear lives with Robert and Emily Arnold, their next-door neighbor cannot get another guide dog.
Steele also fined the Arnolds $250, plus $50 in fees and court costs. If Bear commits another violation within one year, though, the judge will add $500 to the fine.
Steele's order noted that placing Bear elsewhere would only be temporary because Carley is trying to sell her house. He "hopes Ms. Carley will use her best efforts to relocate in order to minimize the time that Bear is placed outside the defendant's home," Steele wrote.
Carley has lowered the price on her home to increase its chances of selling quickly, she said. She wants to move from Erie so she can be closer to public transportation.
Meanwhile, Carley, who has been blind since 1991, is getting ready for a new guide dog.
After receiving the judge's order, Carley faxed it to Guide Dogs for the Blind, a California nonprofit agency.
"Not even 15 to 20 minutes later, admissions called me," Carley said. "They thought it was awesome."
Guide Dogs for the Blind breeds and trains service dogs for blind people at no cost, according to its Web site. After dogs are matched with handlers, the two undergo three to four weeks of training at the organization's campus. Training a guide dog costs about $72,000, according to the organization.
Even though Carley has had other guide dogs, she must undertake three weeks of training with a new dog, she said.
"The most important thing is the bonding period," Carley said. "It gives you time to make sure this dog's going to work, to make sure there's no problems."
While in California, Carley will say goodbye to Racer, who is retired and lives with the family who raised him.
Victoria Camron can be reached at 303-684-5226, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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