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Boo! Give this man his dog back!
Dr. Gael Yonnet of Salt Lake City, Utah had his ability to walk taken away during a snowboarding accident 5-years-ago and to make matters worse, has now had his service dog taken away.
Canine Companions for Independence, the organization that partnered him with Elon, a yellow Labrador retriever, took the dog back last week saying Yonnet's lifestyle and job were endangering the animal.
Yonnet's lifestyle included staying active outdoors, performing such tasks as mountain biking for the first time last year and even climbed the top of a mountain with Elon by his side
The organization, which gives "custody" not "ownership" felt Yonnet's lifestyle and job were endangering the animal, mainly because they insist the animal must be kept on a leash at all times while outdoors.
Canine Companions for Independence said in a statement:
"It's extremely rare for Canine Companions to ask for a dog to be returned from a team. We've had many conversations and visits with Dr. Yonnet to help resolve numerous safety issues over the past year. We finally had to intervene to ensure the dog's health and safety."
After 18 months together, Yonnet feels Elon is part of his life and pleaded:
"If all it takes for me to get my baby back is to put him on a leash, then I will do it. It's an easy solution. I just want my baby back."
We understand the danger of a service dog being off of the leash, especially considering over the past 35 years, 53 dogs were lost due to traffic accidents from being unleashed, but we feel Yonnet should be given a second chance.
If this service dog was off of the leash wandering around the city, that is one thing, but if Elon was off the leash in the wilderness helping this young man perform activities he never thought he could do again, there should be an exception.
It sounds like Elon was being used exactly as a service dog should. To help Yonnet reach his full physical potential despite his handicap.
Watch the news story above for all the details and give us your opinion!
If U think Elon should be reunited with Dr. Gael Yonnet, click here to sign his petition in hopes of convincing Canine Companions for Independence to return his beloved service dog!