[EDIT: For information on how you can contribute help, please click here.]
UPDATE: Volunteer puppy raisers win in court! More information to come.
Last updated: April 6, 2010 @ 9:21 AM EDT
For more than a year the volunteer puppy raisers for the Eye Dog Foundation have been fighting with the school. Even though they have taken back nearly every guide dog puppy, the school has not placed a guide dog in over two-and-a-half years and the conditions in the kennels are quite unsettling.
The school has had a bad reputation for quite some time now for inexperienced and unqualified training staff and for continuing to take in MILLIONS of dollars without working towards their core mission. The dogs currently at the school have been without formal training for over 14 months. (“Formal training” here meaning guide dog training from a qualified instructor.) These are dogs that were raised in loving homes by puppy raisers and their families and now are being left in their cages, barking incessantly, while the school’s gates remain padlocked.
It should be noted that the school still maintains that these dogs will become guide dogs, even though they do not currently employ an “industry standard” instructor. As the school is headquartered in CA, it also falls under that state’s guide dog regulations put in place by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Board; regulations that EDF has historically not been following. In fact, the school has even bred another string of puppies since recalling back all their dogs — these puppies have lived their entire lives at the kennel. All of these GSDs have been without any real human interaction, certainly not the environment to maintain the high standard to which a future guide dog requires.
Don’t just take my word, though; please read the various news regarding the situation for yourself.
Yesterday, I received an email from one of the puppy raisers who has been diligently working towards helping these dogs. The problem, it would seem, is that no one is listening. And my best guess is because they are fighting this battle almost completely alone. Word has spread, albeit slowly, but no real action has been taken. As stated in the email: “You name the governing body, we have contacted them all.”
My hope is the same as this puppy raiser’s, that we can do something for these dogs and raise awareness of the horrific situation going on with EDF. I am urging you, whatever your interest level, to please spread the word about this situation. Please feel free to link this post if you would like. If you have any suggestion in a way to help the puppy raisers and the German shepherds, you can leave a comment on this post or email me. I will edit this post as necessary with whatever information I receive.
Articles and News Stories:
- Custody battle erupts over seeing eye dogs in Phoenix — Josh Bernstein, ABC 15
- Of Disrepute and Dysfunction at the Eye Dog Foundation for the Blind — Daniel B. Frye, The Braille Monitor
- As charity’s cash swells, blind await guide dogs — Robert Anglen, The Arizona Republic
- Cash coming in, no dogs going out — The Arizona Republic
- Residents besieged by barking dogs; say training facility has lost control — Robert Anglen, Watchblog
Ways to Help:
- Spread the news! Please share this post’s link with as many people as possible. The more awareness of these issues, the more likely something will be done.
- File a complaint with the California State Attorney General! Fill out the form and mail it to the address listed below. You can also email your complaint.
[EDIT: Others who emailed their complaints have alerted me that they received a reply email stating complaints must be written and that they needed to use the PDF form and mail in their complaint.
EDIT #2: Received a form response five weeks after sending my complaint.]
- Send the California Guide Dog Board a complaint. Instructions for both email and mail-in forms are at the link.
[EDIT: The response I recieved to my complaint was to file a complaint with the AG's office.]
- Lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
- Mail the CA Department of Corporations a complaint.
[EDIT: I received a reply to my complaint, stating this type of situation is best handled by the Guide Dog Board and they had forwarded it accordingly.]
- Contact the EDF Board of Directors. Addresses are listed below.
[EDIT: You can view my letter here.]
- More information coming soon. . . .
Contact Information and Addresses:
Office of the Attorney General
Registry of Charitable Trusts
PO Box 903447
Sacramento, CA 94203
Board of the Guide Dogs for the Blind
1625 North Market Boulevard, Suite S-202
Sacramento, CA 95834
Department of Corporations
Consumer Services Office
1515 K Street, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Eye Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
211 South Montclair Street, Suite A
Bakersfield, CA 93309
EDF Board of Directors
Gwen Brown, Executive Director
PO Box 580
Claremont, CA 91711
PO Box 580
Claremont, CA 91711
7622 Katella Ave
Stanton, CA 90680
On behalf of the volunteer puppy raisers and German shepherds of EDF, I wholeheartedly thank you.