As Patrick Redford of Deadspin astutely pointed out last week, there's no such thing as a bad dog. There are only good dogs. This is one of our universe's unassailable truths.
It seems the federal government does not agree. Cornell expelled vet student Karen Habitzreuther because, the New York Times reports, they believed Habitzreuther had "concealed" her dog Shandor's history of "aggressive behavior." In other words, they expelled her because her dog was a bad dog. Habitzreuther sued, but the federal court ruled in Cornell's favor:
Nine years ago, Shandor bit a Cornell student clinician, prompting the school to suspend and later expel Ms. Habitzreuther, saying she had concealed the dog’s history of aggressive behavior, including that Shandor had bitten people.
That, in turn, set off a legal battle that was resolved last week when a federal judge in Albany ruled that Cornell was within its rights to expel her, dismissing Ms. Habitzreuther’s claim that the university misled her, needlessly cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional schooling and moving costs, and delayed her dream of becoming a veterinarian.
So now we know the federal government's stance on the matter. According to the letter of the law, dogs can indeed be bad. This is a dark day.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.