By: Matthew Dietz
On July 6, 2014, Nancy Alfonso’s worst nightmare occurred while she was having lunch at a restaurant in Doral with her friend Luz Rosenthal. Nancy’s guide dog Kiddle and Luz’s guide dog Chelsea were with the friends, when Kiddle became violently ill and started vomiting inside the restaurant. An emergency veterinarian was about a mile away, and no one would help.
The restaurant called 911, but they did not assist animals. An off-duty police officer was at the restaurant and would not help. He said, “Ah – it’s a dog” and went back to his seat. Forty-five minutes passed before a Good Samaritan drove Kiddle to the vet. Unfortunately, it was too late, and Kiddle died.
NBC Miami http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/911-Call-Shows-Paralyzed-System-When-Service-Dog-Needed-Help-267721061.html
covered this tragedy, and everyone wanted to know what could be done. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people, not animals, no matter how much that animal is part of a team leading to independence. As part of the report, Disability Independence Group was called as the “disability expert.” However, instead of saying nothing could be done, Matthew Dietz wrote an ordinance for the City of Doral so a first responder would have a duty to assist and drive a service animal to an emergency veterinarian when the person
with a disability does not have transportation. He called it “Kiddle’s
Ordinance” in memory of Nancy Alfonso’s dog.
Luz Rosenfeld, who advocates for the visually impaired through her
organization, Fundación para Invidentes https://www.facebook.com/FundaInvidente/timeline?ref=page_internal
, is active in community life in the City of Doral. She contacted her city commissioners, and immediately Vice Mayor Christi Fraga sponsored the ordinance, and Doral Mayor Luigi Boria proposed it. Councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera would like to go further and proposed to add to this ordinance an ADA Police Sensitivity Training Program and a Responsible Vendor Program, so Doral businesses and restaurants will(?) welcome service animals at their establishments.
Although Kiddle’s Ordinance is still in discussion, it looks favorable
that it will pass, and the City of Doral, Florida will be in the forefront of ensuring that its community is welcoming to persons who use service animals.