Monday, August 06, 2007

Cambridge Woman Alleges Abuse by Cambridge Police in Cambridge Police Station Because of her Handicap

Bob La Trémouille reports:

Kathy Podgers has a long standing “disagreement” with the City of Cambridge and its police department over her guide dog. Kathy has the odd impression that the City of Cambridge should be obeying and enforcing Federal laws on the matter. Cambridge considers Cambridge’s local ordinance more important than federal law.

Federal law, according to Kathy, gives her a right to have her guide dog accompany her in public places to assist her because of neurological problems. The City of Cambridge’s local ordinance does not give her that right and Cambridge is downright offended that Kathy would expect Cambridge to obey and respect federal laws.

The confrontations with city officials over Kathy’s use of the guide dog have been quite public including one situation in a meeting of the Cambridge City Council in which the chair tried to evict Kathy from the room because of the presence of her guide dog.

Saturday morning, August 4, Kathy was at the main lobby of the Cambridge Police Station reviewing complaint files because of public distress at difficulties getting the Cambridge Police to accept citizen complaints.

Kathy says that a police officer opened a door between the main lobby and the police area. Kathy says that a pit bull came through that door and immediately latched onto her dog’s leg.

Not only did the officer with the dog fail to defend Kathy’s dog, the officer expressed lack of concern about the matter. The “police officer” finally removed the dog from her dog by picking up the pit bull with the guide dog’s leg still in the pit bull’s mouth. The pit bull was finally removed with added pain to the guide dog.

At no time did the guide dog do anything to defend itself, in accordance with its training.

Kathy thinks the police were trying to goad her dog into self defense so that they could charge her dog as the aggressor. Police refused to take a complaint on the attack. Police stated no harm because the pit bull had no teeth.

An animal control office was called. The animal control officer demanded to see the guide dog’s papers. The police refused to provide to Kathy the relevant papers on the pit bull, and, to Kathy’s knowledge, no demand for papers was made by the animal control officer on the police.

The guide dog was treated at Angell Memorial Hospital. Kathy was treated at Mass. General. All medical personnel expressed distress at the behavior of the Cambridge Police and the refusal by the Cambridge Police to obey minimal paper exchange requirements.

Kathy Podgers may be contacted at 617-642-3154. Your reporter has no personal knowledge of the incident on Saturday morning.