Local families outraged at dog rescue’s social media post


There’s outrage online Wednesday after a local animal rescue organization posted it will not allow families of children with autism to adopt dogs.

The declaration has some calling for a boycott of the group, or at least a change in policy.

Cassidy Sabo says her family loves to spend time with their dog.

“This is Marlowe. We adopted him and he’s been a great addition to our family. We have a six-year-old son who has autism and he’s up for everything that we do.”

The Sabo family acquired Marlowe from a local humane society.

“We told them, when we went in. We said, ‘We have an autistic child.’ They didn’t ask any questions that we were offended by,” said Cassidy.

Marlowe came home soon after and with a small period of adjustment, mixed well with her son Wyatt.Wyatt Sabo with the family dog ​​Marlowe. (Source: Cassidy Sabo)

Today, even though Wyatt is often loud, Cassidy said the pair are inseparable.

She goes further, saying Marlowe has helped her son engage better with other children at his school.

That’s why, as his mom, and as a community support worker, she’s upset by a recent social media post.

An operator of Kismutt Rescue, located south of St. Marys, posted to Facebook that her organization has a policy that “NO dog will be adopted into homes with autistic children.”

“My immediate thoughts was that, it was discrimination, loud and clear, and that I was offended by it,” Cassidy explained.

The rescue operator explains her position in the post by reflecting on two cases over a decade ago where she says dogs were injured after being placed in homes with children on the autism spectrum.

The posting generated positive comments on her page, but Sabo says contains she and others had their negative comments deleted. Later, the post was shared to the Ontario Autism Coalition, sparking negative comments.

CTV News London has reached out to Kismutt Rescue for an interview, but has not received a response.

Sabo is saddened that’s the case and hopes the organization’s operator and others, will be educated by her family’s example that dogs can coexist with children with autism.

She [Kismutt Rehab’s operator] has every opportunity to learn now, and I think how she handles this and how she goes from here, will determine the future of her organization.”

— With files from CTV News London’s Sean Irvine, Gerry Dewan and Kristylee Varley


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