Rescue agency refuses to adopt child due to autistic child

An Ontario pet adoption agency has denied an application for a single family dog ​​to be reintroduced due to its policy of not sending dogs to homes with children with autism.

Erin Doan of Listowel, Ont, applied to adopt a dog at nearby Kismutt Small Dog Rescue to be a companion for her 9-year-old son Henry, who is autistic and cannot speak.

However, Kissmutt Small Dog Rescue rejected the application due to its policy of not sending dogs to homes with children with autism.

“I was shocked, a bit in tears,” Doan told CTV News London.

“I was very angry.”

In a Facebook post, Kismutt Small Dog Rescue said that some people “may [criticize] my policy, but I won’t stand a chance with another dog” and cites two alleged incidents of a dog being injured shortly after being adopted in a home with a child with autism.

“Following the second incident with the second dog, I have made it a policy that no dogs will be adopted in homes with autistic children,” the post read.

Janet McLaughlin, associate professor of health studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, teaches a course on autism and has a son with the condition. She says it hurts to treat all children with autism the same.

“Children with autism, just like children without autism, are unique individuals who differ in their behavior,” she told CTV News Kitchener.

“I think if I was told we were denied the possibility of adoption based solely on his diagnosis, despite the fact that he has no history of aggression or violence, I would really feel sorry for him. feel hurt and indignant.”

The case also sparked outrage from other families with children with autism and together called for a boycott of the rescue agency.

Cassidy Sabo, a concerned parent, said: “The immediate thought was that it was discriminatory, loud and clear.

Vicki Spadoni, executive director of Autism Dog Service, which trains dogs for children with autism, says rescue dogs can work with these families, they just need to make sure they find the right dog.

“It has to be examined very, very, very carefully, absolutely, but it is very doable and it is highly recommended,” she said.

In a statement to CTV News, Kismutt Small Dog Rescue said these dogs are kept strictly as pets and are not trained as service animals.

Autism Ontario said in a statement it was “strongly opposed.”[s] for the ban on discrimination against children with autism and Kismutt’s family [Small] Dog Rescue” and added that the incident is a reminder that more education is needed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Doan said other rescue agencies had reached out to help them find the right match.

With files from CTV News Kitchener and CTV News London

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