HR Strange But True!
November 29, 2001

Here's a cautionary tale about pets in the workplace:

The city of Escondido, Calif., has been hit with a $1.5 million lawsuit by Richard Espinosa, who says his assistance dog was attacked by the public library's pet cat last year.

Espinosa alleges that his rights as a disabled person as well as his civil rights were violated. He says he suffers from anxiety attacks and that his California-certified assistance dog accompanies him to help him deal with them.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Espinosa was on assignment as a local newspaper reporter when he and Kimba, a Labrador mix that weighs about 50 pounds, entered the library - where the cat attacked the dog. The cat, called L.C. for library cat, often sat on a pillow near the entrance.

Espinosa says the library had a sign that said "No Animals" except guide dogs, which violated his right and those of others who use assistance dogs to enter the city library.

Espinosa also alleges that a library administrator and a patron chastised him for ignoring the sign and that police did not promptly respond to his call for assistance.

Before officers arrived, Espinosa took Kimba to a veterinarian, who charged $46.49 for the treatment, according to a previous claim Espinosa filed with the city.

In May, the Union-Tribune reports, L.C. attacked a terrier outside the library. A few days afterward, City Librarian Laura Mitchell put the 12-pound cat on an "indefinite vacation" at the home of a library employee.

L.C. was a kitten when it was donated to the library by a homeless woman in 1994.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

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