CLEVELAND - A certified therapy dog is not allowed at a Parma school because of the dog's breed. A city ordinance prohibits pit bulls, and now a Facebook page from "Gremlin the Pit Bull" is filled with comments about the issue.
Gremlin was a severely abused dog, used as a bait dog in a dogfighting ring. Her back legs were broken, she can no longer bark, and she is partially deaf. But an undercover police officer adopted her, and today Gremlin's life is very different.
As a therapy dog, Gremlin visits schools for student reading programs, and she visits patients in nursing facilities.
Her Facebook page stated, "Gremlin's mission is to bring awareness to dogfighting and how the cruelty of humans never cease to amaze us."
Gremlin's Facebook page also announced the dog is not allowed in Parma City Schools. "I am very said to announce that the City of Parma has stepped in and told the school I am no longer allowed to visit because the City does not allow my breed. It is very sad that all those children will miss out on a wonderful program because of how I look," the Facebook post said.
More than 350 comments from fans called the ban "discrimination" and "ignorant."
"We were just doing exploratory calling for a possible therapy program," said Kevin Brennan, the district's communications specialist. "We've made no commitment to any program" or any company associated with certified therapy dogs, Brennan said.
The program would be for a special needs pre-school, if the district decides to adopt it. Brennan said during the research into the possible program, school leaders were advised by counsel that pit bulls are not allowed on school property because of a city ordinance.
Gremlin's Facebook page responded to the pit bull's supporters by updating other upcoming school visits, including trips planned in the coming weeks to North Ridgeville and Sandusky schools.
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