I Don’t Want To Get Into The Whole ‘Property Rights vs Disability Dogs’ Argument…

August 16, 2011 25 Comments
By

…but I would ask this: Would you go to a doctor who used, as a pretext to banning a patient’s guide dog from her waiting room, the excuse that another patient’s mother had ‘liquid bones’?

Or who segues instantly from the ‘Health and Safety’ excuse to the ‘I have a phobia!’ excuse when challenged?

Punjabi, who said she is afraid of dogs, added that her request was polite.

“We simply asked him to step outside,” she said. “I have my rights and my phobias, too.”

The ADA says you don’t have the right, not in this case. If you disagree with that, get the ADA overturned, if you can.

Or go practice somewhere the laws suit you better…

And to show that it isn’t just a problem with some cultures:

A blind woman said she felt like a second-class citizen after being banned from a coffee shop because the owners feared her guide dog could put customers off.

Whereas being an ignorant little Hitler presumably draws them right in..?

…White Coffee House owner Mr Cox said the cafe doesn’t allow any dogs on the premises.He said: ‘We had a problem a year ago when a dog sicked up in the cafe and it cleared the place.

We were told we don’t have to allow dogs on the premises.

‘I have spoken to the Guide Dogs Association about the issue and they understood as well.
‘I sympathise with anyone with not very good vision but we are a very small place and that is our policy.”

Unfortunately for you, your policy would see you prosecuted, if only the council had the backbone.

David Cowdrey, the Guide Dogs Association’s head of campaigns, said the cafe was wrong to turn a blind woman away.

He said: ‘Guide dog owners such as Miss Henshall rely on their dogs for mobility and independence.’This is recognised in the Equality Act 2010 which requires restaurants and other service providers not to discriminate against disabled people.

‘Staff at restaurants and food shops often cite hygiene issues but the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers has confirmed that guide and other assistance dogs should have access to these premises and there is no conflict with hygiene laws.

‘Guide Dogs is happy to visit the White Coffee House to offer training and advice on the law and just how important a job guide dogs do for their owners.’

He doesn’t need ‘training and advice’, he needs a lesson in not getting his own way.

Why not just take out a private prosecution on behalf of Ms Henshall? Wouldn’t that be quite a good use of the money you receive in donations?

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25 Responses to I Don’t Want To Get Into The Whole ‘Property Rights vs Disability Dogs’ Argument…

  1. August 16, 2011 at 7:30 am

    “Would you go to a doctor…”

    No, I wouldn’t go to a doctor who was such an arse about disability dogs, but that doesn’t mean the doctor in this case was wrong. Oh, wrong in law, yes, undoubtably. But the thing is that the ADA (another bastardised piece of legislation that has often hurt those it was intended to help) is cut from the same cloth as the smoking ban. In the same way that licensees, or whatever they call them in Americaland, have had the choice of whether or not to accept certain customers taken away from them by the government, a doctor who builds or buys a clinic or a partnership in one has had their choice of whether to accept certain customers – typically clinics are businesses and patients are customers there, remember – taken away as well. The one may not allow smoking, the other may not prohibit dogs. Different businesses, but both being deprived of their freedom to run their businesses as they choose.

    The other side to this is that the law hasn’t just taken away the business owner’s property rights, but has also weakened the natural market forces which ought to punish businesses for mistreating customers. By rights the doctor should gradually lose her trade to competing doctors and end up either conceding to the demands of her market (i.e., don’t be such an arsehole about disability dogs) or going bust – preferably the latter if you ask me. This process is interfered with when the law protects arseholes from the consequence of being arseholes by forcing a veneer of niceness over them. The doctor has apparently now apologised and the whole thing’s being smoothed over, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s because she’s been told she hasn’t a leg to stand on (and you can’t get a dog to help with that). Is that a better outcome than letting her push clients away to doctors who treat their customers better? She had enough rope with which to hang herself and the government took it out of her hands and protected her from the consequences of her prejudices/phobias/whatever. If I was a competing doctor I’d be all for giving her all that rope back and a bit extra to be on the safe side. If I was a patient I’d be all for letting a doctor’s prejudices be displayed openly so I can make a more informed choice as to which one gets my money.

    Of course, none of that really applies in the UK since the NHS buggers the whole thing anyway. It also doesn’t apply if this place in the US was a publicly funded clinic of some kind. I guess the government have to have a say what goes on there, assuming we don’t go off on the tangents of taxation and what governments should and shouldn’t do.

    • August 17, 2011 at 5:39 am

      “…but has also weakened the natural market forces which ought to punish businesses for mistreating customers.”

      Because they don’t work?

      • August 17, 2011 at 7:01 am

        Who says they don’t work? They certainly struggle to work when distorted by state interference and would work better if people stopped waiting for the state to step in and had to take action themselves, but the market can still work. Aside from the example I gave in an earlier comment just off the top of my head I can think of two very famous examples, one of them fairly recent, in which companies’ customers became so outraged that the businesses concerned rapidly began losing eye-watering sums of money.

        One of those businesses, The Ratner Group, saw its footfall crash and its share value drop from a few quid each to the very edge of suspension – today it no longer exists in its original form and is far smaller than it was. You’ll note that there is nothing illegal about saying your products are crap and implying that your customer base has no taste and is thick as mince for buying it, but by Christ weren’t the director, the company and its shareholders punished for it anyway! The other case I’m thinking of is News Corp and the fallout from the NotW phone not-hacking. That’s not even over yet but we’ve already seen the backlash having an effect on the company’s value as well as the sacrificial closure of the offending publication. The interesting thing there is that that laws were broken there and all this other damage being done is separate to the arrests, involving as it does mainly the market forces of an enraged readership and worried shareholders. I find it particularly interesting that it seems like much less damage is being done than Ratner did to himself. Two examples are poor stats but it could be that people aren’t bothering to punish News Corp as much as they could because they’re expecting the state to do it for them, whereas no government department or agency was going to put Gerald Ratner on the naughty step so his customers simply took it upon themselves to bugger off.

  2. August 16, 2011 at 9:16 am

    God help you, if you’re a blind breastfeeding mum…

    link to harwichandmanningtreestandard.co.uk

  3. Jim
    August 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

    FFS!! Its not difficult. Being blind must be sh!t. Having a guide dog allows blind people to live independent lives. The rest of us, whatever our ‘phobias’, sky fairy beliefs, or ‘rights’ should suck it up and make no complaints about guide dogs. Unless you are prepared to swap places with a blind person (I’ll provide the conversion service if you like) just shut up and let them go where they please.

    • August 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

      Say you were a restaurant owner and the government said that alongside banning smokers you had to offer a halal option from now on. Would you be happy? Doesn’t actually matter because you don’t have a choice, even though it’s your restaurant – those decisions have been taken away and made for you. But out of interest would you be okay with it? Because if you’re okay with laws insisting that guide dogs have in effect an all areas pass then you have no right, none at all, to object to the smoking ban or restaurant owners being forced to offer a halal option when the government says so (assuming they haven’t already ;-) ). I’m sure you’ll say it’s not the same thing – people always do – but if so then you have accepted the principle that you do not own your property, the government does. You’re just negotiating the terms and conditions on which you’re allowed to earn a living on it. If the government can say that you must accept assistance dogs then it can say you may not permit smoking or or you must serve halal, and since two of those three are already in force I wouldn’t want to bet against No. 3.

      Me, I’d leave it up to the market. Let discriminatory arseholes be themselves and sow the seeds of their own bankruptcy. It’s a hell of a lot easier for us all not to spend money with them by accident that way too.

      • Lord T
        August 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

        My Halal option would be extra spicy, stored in the freezer, would take ages to defrost, cook and would taste of dog vomit, which would be what it was based on.

        There are always ways around these things without leaving yourself open to prosecution.

        • August 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

          It’s not about avoiding prosecution, of course there are always ways round that. It’s about whether you own what you’ve paid for or whether the state does, and the problem that once you let the bastards dictate to you for a good reason you can be goddamned sure they’ll be back to dictate to you for a bad reason.

          • LordT
            August 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

            AE,

            You are right. I agree with you. I was just making a different point to show how useless the laws were anyway and how easily they can be bypassed.

          • August 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

            Sorry, Lord T. Misunderstood you back there.

          • Lord T
            August 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

            No need to apologise. I can be obscure in my comments.

      • Jim
        August 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

        So basically your argument is that on private property the owner can do exactly as they please? Can I kill someone in my house and claim ‘Its my property I can do what I like’? Of course not, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want it any other way either.

        So the principle of ‘my house my rules’ is fundamentally breached anyway. Its just a question of where the line is drawn. I take the view that being blind is hard enough without people discriminating against you left right and centre because you have a guide dog.

        • August 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm

          In that instance, you would be contravening the property rights of the person you killed.

          AE has a point that we should be able to manage this effectively without the state being involved.

          • Jim
            August 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm

            And how exactly do you propose that this is managed effectively by voluntary means then?

            It shouldn’t have escaped your notice that there are a significant number of sky fairy adherents (and we know which particular sky fairy they believe in) that own and run retail establishments who would jump at the chance to ban guide dogs. So presumably if a blind person’s local newsagent bans dogs, the market will suddenly provide a second newsagent run by dog lovers next door? Of course not, the 99.9% of the customers who aren’t blind (and thus are not affected) will continue to use the shop, the blind person has to go elsewhere.

            In this equation someone has to ‘lose out’. I would argue that for the State to demand people allow guide dogs is a lesser infringement of property rights than for individuals to demand blind people go elsewhere for their goods and services, causing considerable grief to people whose lives are already hard enough.

          • August 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

            Without wishing to reiterate AE’s point, I would suggest that the local newsagent would rapidly find himself on the wrong end of a local campaign demanding a boycott of his shop along with negative publicity in the press and local if not national television, severely damaging his business.

            Your suggestion that 99.9% of customers would carry on regardless once aware of his behaviour does rather smack of a lack of faith in one’s fellow man.

        • August 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm

          Longrider’s made the point about killing for me, but I want to answer the second bit. Yes, I absolutely agree, disability is bloody awful and I despise the doctor in the case that JuliaM brought up. She deserves to go bust and I hope she does, though as I said I doubt that’ll happen now because the ADA will protect her from herself rather than let nature, or the market, take its course. But there’s a bigger picture – I repeat, if the state can exert ownership over your own property for a good and noble reason then you can’t stop it from doing it for a bad reason. And then doing it again. And again and again and again.

  4. Jim
    August 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    ‘the local newsagent would rapidly find himself on the wrong end of a local campaign demanding a boycott of his shop along with negative publicity in the press and local if not national television, severely damaging his business.’

    And this happens does it, to the business owners who are actually breaking the law right now? I don’t see much evidence of it in the cases we have seen highlighted. And it would be even less of an issue if everyone was free to choose who they could ban from their shops. Can you really see a Muslim shopkeeper being the subject of a local campaign by (presumably mainly white) residents to force him to allow dogs in his shop? Not very likely IMO. In fact, if there was no legal requirement to allow guide dogs, such a campaign could be considered racial/religious harassment, and would probably attract the attention of the local PC brigade and the police.

    • August 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      I don’t see much evidence of it in the cases we have seen highlighted.

      I’d say the fact the Philadelphia media ran the article, followed up by wider coverage across the states if a quick google is any guide, is pretty good evidence that it does happen. The not very plausible alternative is that the papers there report on every breach of the ADA, so it seems more likely to me that they bang the drum for clear and egregious shittiness.

      And it would be even less of an issue if everyone was free to choose who they could ban from their shops.

      Indeed, and where the state insists that they cannot pick and choose their custom either that’s just as wrong. I’m for wiping the slate clean and getting the state out before it decides to compel us all to do even more that we don’t want to do. The alternative is, as I said, looking forward to the day when your local greasy spoon is compelled by law to ensure that its full English breakfast is both kosher and halal, and possibly nut free, gluten free and vegetarian. If you’re on board for one interference the state _will_ say you’re on board for the whole shebang.

      Can you really see a Muslim shopkeeper being the subject of a local campaign by (presumably mainly white) residents to force him to allow dogs in his shop?

      No overt campaign necessary. Vote with your wallet and encourage others to do the same, and whether he caves in or not is irrelevant. If he does in then he does in, and even if he does there’s no reason to give him your custom once you know what he’s like.

      In fact, if there was no legal requirement to allow guide dogs, such a campaign could be considered racial/religious harassment, and would probably attract the attention of the local PC brigade and the police.

      Nope. You’re just exercising one of the remaining liberties left to you and shopping in the store of your choice. Nothing racist about it since, to quote my old man, arseholes are not colour coded. You’re not shopping there because you just don’t like the man’s attitude – anything else about, ethnicity, religion, whatever, is irrelevant. By why would anyone even ask? Nobody cares why you go to Tesco instead of Sainsbury and nobody gives a stuff if you tell everyone you know that it’s because you think Tesco is better. Why would they with SMEs?

      I’ll leave this thought: Julia began with a question – would any of us choose to go to a doctor who used a lame excuse as a pretext for booting out a patient with an assistance dog? I know we’re a small sample but the answer appears to be a unanimous ‘No!’ I don’t know what the going rate for a doctor’s appointment is in PA but in these parts it’s about $75 for half an hour, and pissing off enough patients could easily cost a doctor a grand a day.

      • Jim
        August 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm

        You could indeed vote with your feet and your wallet. And I suggest that while a few principled people might shun such a shop, the vast majority (who generally care little for principles, but do care about getting their newspaper, a few cans of lager and some fags) would continue to spend their money in such shops. And as I have said, there is no evidence whatsoever that shops who currently flout the law suffer any adverse trading consequences, so why would people be more likely to shop elsewhere if there were no rules at all? At the moment one can at least say that someone is breaking the law, and thus should be boycotted. What could one say if each shop keeper was entitled to ban guide dogs? They would just be exercising their perfectly legal personal preferences.

        And where does the personal right to exclude who one likes end? Are we to return to signs saying No Blacks, No Jews, No Irish, No Gays?

        If those who chose to ban guide dogs were doing so for non-religious reasons (ie personal animosity to dogs, allegies etc) then your method might work. The numbers who were anti-dog would be quite small. However we in the UK have a significant minority who would immediately ban guide dogs on religious grounds, and as they are over-represented in the retail trades, such a free-for-all would result in significant loss of amenity for blind people.

        But who cares for their rights eh?

        • August 17, 2011 at 5:38 am

          “And where does the personal right to exclude who one likes end? Are we to return to signs saying No Blacks, No Jews, No Irish, No Gays?”

          It’s strange that three of those would draw an immediate response from the police, and yet you can discriminate against guide dogs with only the fear of a council operative coming to wag a finger at you a week next Tuesday…

        • August 17, 2011 at 6:34 am

          And I suggest that while a few principled people might shun such a shop, the vast majority … would continue to spend their money in such shops.

          As Longrider says, you have a lack of faith in your fellow man, and it’s exactly the same lack of faith the government and their statist supporters have… hey, you’re not from the government, are you? ;-) Just kidding. But governments and statists do use that to justify trampling all over everybody’s property rights in all kinds of ways, from preventing you from defending yourself against attack (on your property or otherwise) to banning smoking in pubs to seizing your home and land for development and paying you bad mate’s rates for it to taking away your liberty completely if you object. To be blunt, my hypothetical example of being made to offer halal options isn’t even the worst abuse of property rights, not by a long chalk. And as I keep saying, as long as the state can do it for a noble reason, such as helping out people with disabilities, they can and have and will continue to do it for really quite terrible reasons.

          At the moment one can at least say that someone is breaking the law, and thus should be boycotted.

          And the flipside of that is this question: would you accept legal nasty behaviour from a retailer and continue to shop there because he isn’t breaking the law? Would you carry on putting up with it and hope that the law will one day ban whatever it is he’s doing that you dislike so you can stop going there with a clear conscience? No, of course you wouldn’t. Why would you need them to break the law before you spend your money elsewhere? So if you don’t need the state deciding what constitutes wrong behaviour on your behalf then you don’t need it to decide what’s right either – it’s your money and there really is no practical way to stop you spending it where you choose for whatever reasons seem right to you.

          However we in the UK have a significant minority who would immediately ban guide dogs on religious grounds, and as they are over-represented in the retail trades, such a free-for-all would result in significant loss of amenity for blind people.

          Sure about that? They own the big supermarket chains, many of which are open 24-7 and bend over backwards to accommodate the disabled, as well as being cheaper? They own the big name department stores? They own the popular online stores? No, they don’t. We’re talking about a very small sector so not a significant loss of amenity at all, and less significant still because of this minority which might ban dogs only the minority who’d put dogma ahead of business would actually do so. There’s no reason boycotting Ahmed can’t involve buying from Akram instead if Akram’s prepared to accommodate those whom Ahmed is not.

          And where does the personal right to exclude who one likes end?

          To be blunt, it doesn’t. We may not like who a business owner chooses to exclude but liberty is rather black and white. You are free or you are not, and necessarily it includes the freedom to be a small-minded, intolerant bastard. To me that’s a lesser evil than having no freedom at all but what the state decides that we may be trusted with, and only as long as it still feels that way.

          I’d rather not have the disabled turfed out of shops – just as I’d rather gay couples be accepted in all guest houses and moderate Muslims not to cop flak for the insane ones, and for Sikhs not to cop it too because some people think they are Muslims, for work to be worth the same regardless of gender, for people of different ethnicities not to throw racial slurs at each other, etc etc. On the surface this harmonious Coca-Cola world would be a nicer world, but the price for all of that includes thought crime and eminent domain and a complete lack of any liberty to dissent or question or exercise any independent will except in the most trivial respects, freedom to do and think only as you are told to do and think. On the surface, nice – beneath the surface, a nightmare in which individuals are no more free than individual termites.

          Can’t happen? In my opinion we are already considerably more than halfway there, and probably more than three-quarters. And it’s all because people are willing to let the state trample over others’ property rights having blinded themselves to the fact that the state may now do it to them as well. As I keep saying, what can be done for a good reason can and will be done for bad reasons. Property rights are the foundation stone of liberty and when we discard them we risk literally everything.

          • Jim
            August 17, 2011 at 9:54 am

            Look its not my lack of faith in my fellow man, I’m just saying whats happening right now. We have cases of guide dogs being banned and no-one is kicking up a stink about it. It gets in the local paper maybe, and thats about it, despite it being against the law. Have you one jot of evidence of any public boycott of a business that has banned guide dogs? And why should this change if the law was liberalised?

            And as for the loss of amenity – it might not be to you, with your two eyes and all, but if your local shop bans guide dogs, that’s a significant loss of amenity for a blind person. There won’t be 2 local stores selling the same stuff. There will be a supermarket across town somewhere yes, but that would require a bus journey (and presumably the bus company could ban guide dogs if it so wished as well), or a taxi ride. Oh and guess what, taxis are often driven by members of the sky fairy community, and would most likely ban dogs in their cabs too.

            Tell you what, you try being blind for a while and see how you get on. You might then realise that all this black and white stuff about personal liberty is rather less important, than being able to walk to your local shop or Post Office and buy a pint of milk or a stamp.

          • August 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

            We have cases of guide dogs being banned and no-one is kicking up a stink about it.

            Except that if no-one’s making waves how did we get to hear about it?

            Have you one jot of evidence of any public boycott of a business that has banned guide dogs?

            Overly specific example. I’ve already provided examples of businesses that have outraged their markets and suffered as a result.

            … you try being blind for a while and see how you get on. You might then realise that all this black and white stuff about personal liberty is rather less important, than being able to walk to your local shop or Post Office and buy a pint of milk or a stamp.

            Did I read that right? Did you really say that liberty is less important? “Orphans of Liberty indeed”, because when everyone thinks like that Liberty is truly dead.

            Still, let’s play the scenario – I am who I am now but without my sight, and thanks to the well meaning and honest concern of you and like minded folk it’s a little easier to buy some milk. And yet in the back of my mind would be the knowledge that you have also thrown my future security into permanent doubt. Someone wants to take my house? How can I say no when, thanks to your kindness, I can walk into the shops over the owner’s objections? Oh, but you’ve made it easier to buy a pint of milk, yes, lovely, thank-you, but where the hell did my freedom to own a home go? I’m blind, remember. I was trusting you to look after it! I might want to cheer myself up with a ciggie in the local, but of course I can’t, and again, how can I object? There’s no mileage in saying that I can’t help my blindness because the same will be said about the chronic hand wavers and their alleged asthma.

            See? Even blind it’s not worth the price of nobody but the state ever truly owning anything unless we’re being, no pun intended, rather short sighted.

            Look, please try to get past the guide dog issue. Yes, bloody awful for individuals, no disputing that. But the insidious loss of our individual property rights, our liberties, is bloody awful for everyone, sighted, blind or in between, and I’d say it’s an evil an order of magnitude worse. As I keep having to say, if you accept it for this noble reason it will be done for bad reasons too, and we can already see the results of that all around us because it has been. The desire of the healthists to prevent smoking in pubs they never go into has prevailed because so many stood by and let property rights be usurped. Eminent domain, compulsory acquisition, call it what you will, exists because we stand by and let property rights be usurped. The opinions you’ve already expressed in this conversation, Jim, on the subject of that minority group most prejudiced against dogs will soon make you a thought criminal, if indeed they don’t already, because so many stand by while your property rights – over your most personal property, your own thoughts – were usurped.

            Liberty is a set menu, mate, and property rights is inextricably bound. It’s not a buffet where you can pick and choose which to defend and which, in your eyes, can be ignored unless you’re prepared to sacrifice the whole lot. While your property rights can be overridden you own nothing that you think you own, not the roof over your head, the land it stands on, not the money you earn, not the clothes on your back, not the thoughts in your head, not a damned thing. Oh, and just to be clear, it’s not just you – it’s the 60 million people standing next to you. You might be willing to pay that price, but do you get to decide to make all of them pay it too?

        • August 17, 2011 at 9:40 am

          Are we to return to signs saying No Blacks, No Jews, No Irish, No Gays?

          This is pretty much an urban myth. If they ever did exist, they did so in such insignificant numbers as to be ignored.

  5. cuffleyburgers
    August 24, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    While I find it hard to believe that anybody would be such a cunt as to ban Guide dogs from their premises I have to agree on balance with the likes of AE that the best way to deal with it is via local level opprobrium towards the premises and general good neighbourliness towards the afflicted one.

    Government intervention can only do harm.

    By the way I would far rather eat in the company of a guide dog (intelligent animals, impeccably well trained and cared for) than the average teenager.

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