Bulletin: DAD Bites Kid

Jeff was a very good service dog. He was certified as a DAD—Diabetic Alert Dog—and he came to school each day with a little boy identified in the case as A.P.  Jeff was trained to alert when the boy’s blood sugar level needed attention.

Jeff started coming to school in February, 2015, when the boy was in 2nd grade.  Jeff was a regular at the school for the rest of that year, and most of the next.  But on March 23, 2016, something happened, and the district expelled Jeff for misconduct.

The kids were sitting in the hallway that morning on either side of the hall just before classes began in the morning. Jeff was tethered to A.P.  When a 3rd grader ran down the hall and attempted to leap over Jeff, the dog “lunged, snapped, and bit” the student.  The bite went all the way through the jeans and punctured the skin.

The parents, who had paid $15,000 for Jeff, sued the school, claiming that the exclusion of the dog was a violation of the ADA and Section 504.  Initially the parents sought an injunction to allow Jeff to continue to accompany the boy at school. The court denied the injunction, noting that the evidence showed that the dog presented a direct threat.  Key Quote:

This is not a case in which the District denied the use of a service dog as a reasonable accommodation because of unfounded assumptions about the service animal. Rather, the District appropriately excluded this particular service animal under the explicit provisions of the implementing regulations, based on the known and observed inappropriate actions of this particular service animal—biting a student in school.


The case is A.P. v. Pennsbury School District, decided by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on August 26, 2016.  We found it at 68 IDELR 132.


File this one under: ADA/504