Blind, Deaf Dog Kicked Out Of Dog Park

KCOY Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo – News

For over a year Billy has been going to the dog park that’s for small and timid dogs in his California town. He’s both deaf and blind and get bullied around bigger dogs. Recently a change was made to the dog park sign to only state the small dogs could be there which led to Billy being kicked out of his favorite park.

Billy has been enjoying a park for small and timid dogs in Orcutt, California for over a year. Billy is older, deaf and almost completely blind. Last week everything changed when the sign at the park changed from stating the park was for “small and timid dogs” to just “small dogs only.” This led to Billy’s owner Marty Niles being approached by a park ranger. “A park ranger showed up and said this is for small dogs only,” said Niles. “I tried to explain to the park ranger that Bill is not only deaf but he’s nearly total blind.” Billy and Niles were kicked out and are not permitted to attend Billy’s favorite park anymore.

There is a park for bigger dogs, but because of Billy’s age, deafness and blindness it’s not a good fit for him. “(He) was jumped on in the large dog park and put to the ground because he’s old,” said Niles. “He just can’t protect himself.” Niles hopes an area for older dogs like Billy can be set up, though when she suggested it to the park ranger she wasn’t too happy with his response. “We said ‘then perhaps you can divide the ‘small dog’ park into two for old, timid, crippled, blind, deaf dogs and his response was ‘well, that would be age discrimination’ tongue-in-cheek, of course, so yeah, we’re not really happy about it,” said Niles.

The change to the park sign came after the suggestion of another dog park user according to the Santa Barbara County Parks Office. They plan to review the incident over the next week.


  1. Jonas Barck says on  04/26/2013 at 8:14 am

    All bureaucrazy and no heart and mind like always..

  2. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 8:21 am

    Find out the name of the person
    Who insisted that the sign say
    small dogs and post it on Facebook
    I am sure lots of people would
    Like to say say something to
    him or her

  3. patti mc gan says on  04/26/2013 at 8:22 am

    Let Billy enjoy the park that he is familiar with please. His blindness is a handicape and he is used to that park. Please be kind to this sweet animal.

    • I absolutely agree!!! Let the unhappy owner who has a healthy doggie take their sweetie to another park to enjoy play and not interfere with what Billy is familiar and comfortable with!!!

      He already endured enough being bullied in a park with dogs his own size!!! Let him have his fun!!!


  4. suzan says on  04/26/2013 at 8:25 am

    For those of you siding with the park dept. stance, did you not read the article? This dog is deaf and nearly blind as well as old. There IS no other safe park for a dog like this to go to! Billy was doing just fine in the small dog area. He is harmless! Laws do not have to be set in concrete! Exceptions can be made for every rule in extenuating circumstances! Have some compassion for this elderly dog. Now he has virtually no where to run free and safely. Have a heart. If I were those owners I’d sue. This dog has done nothing wrong.

  5. Karen says on  04/26/2013 at 8:53 am

    What the hell is wrong with people? Let this dog enjoy his time at the park. People can be such idiots!

  6. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 9:05 am

    unbelievable…just unbelievable. How unfair can you be? An old, deaf and nearly blind dog cannot possibly endanger the little ones…please, please…

  7. Janet says on  04/26/2013 at 9:21 am

    Liberals are slowly taking over the country. Their stupidity is astounding.

    • Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 10:00 am

      This is about the unfair treatment of the dog…period!! The stupidity of your post, is what is truly astounding.

  8. Pauline says on  04/26/2013 at 9:27 am

    lobby their council, make a noise about the stupidity of the rule. Go to media, don’t just take it lying down, Billy’s owners.
    No complaints then no change for Billy, make his voice heard because he cannot speak for himself.

  9. That’s quite sad – an older, blind, and deaf dog not being allowed to frolic a bit in a dog park. I do hope that the Parks Office will reconsider their decision, especially as they allowed that area to be used by frail dogs before. Changing an entire policy because of one complaint (from what it sounds like in this article) seems counter-intuitive. I hope that Billy’s humans are able to be a part of the process to educate the Parks Office about the need for such an area.

    Billy is a handsome guy. I do hope that he gets to use “his” park again soon.

  10. Tracy says on  04/26/2013 at 9:35 am

    I’ll sign that petition!
    Anyone who complained about Billy aught to be ashamed of themselves.

  11. Gloria says on  04/26/2013 at 9:51 am

    Our Dog Park in Nevada HAS a separate part just for doggies like Billy. Another good reason to leave CA and their left-wing idiots.

    • sonja says on  04/26/2013 at 10:12 am

      I live in Nevada and am a liberal. Many of my friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and coworkers are liberals. Most are also dog lovers and would fully disagree with the rule that has barred this dog from the park. The issue has nothing to do with liberal or conservative viewpoints. Your determination to make it so, attacking a large group of individuals for no logical reason, is not a good method for making positive change.

      • Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 10:18 am

        Only an idiot would dare to polticize this issue…it’s about the unfair treatment of the poor dog, and nothing else!

      • Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 11:22 am

        You can’t fix stupid. They will soon be kicked out of Washington and replaced with moderate conservatives.

        • Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 11:31 am

          There is no such thing as a moderate Conservative anymore- the ones in office are Tea Party morons. There is a reason that the GOP is called the Party of Stupid, and they will be replaced with Liberals who support the Constitution instead of religious anti-intellectual propaganda soon enough.

          • Anonymous says on  05/08/2013 at 1:50 pm

            I agree with you, but think that this is completely irrelevant to this article. Not everything is about politics, and intelligent liberals should not be bated by low information conservatives to engage in this debate at every opportunity!

        • Jennifer G. says on  05/08/2013 at 8:54 am

          WTH does Washington have to do with this situation? Seriously, why is anyone making this political? It’s completely irrelevant to the fact that some owner of an ankle-biter whined about a large dog being allowed in “their” area, & ruined things for poor Billy & his owner. Everyone who wants to make this political needs to find another forum for them to voice their views, because such things are inappropriate here.

    • Pam says on  04/26/2013 at 11:12 am

      WTF is your problem? Is everything in your life divided into conservative and liberal? If not, keep your mouth shut. Every time you open it, your stupidity shows.

  12. robin says on  04/26/2013 at 9:57 am

    I wish they had listed the name(s) and phone number(s) that we should start contacting in order to get Billy back into his park. It’s amazing what being bombarded with thousands of polite but firm demands will do.

  13. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 10:52 am
    • Pam says on  04/26/2013 at 11:12 am

      Awesome! Thanks!

    • Monica says on  04/26/2013 at 11:30 am

      Yes, thanks! I just sent off an e-mail!

    • Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 2:42 pm

      We think it is quite sad that you would allow an old crippled dog to be kicked out of the small dog run. He is physically UNABLE to compete with the bigger younger dogs in the “big” dog side. Very sad state of affairs y’all have there… Ruby & her pack in Pennsylvania!
      Sent from my Samsung Smart phone to their not so smart office….

  14. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 11:27 am

    I wonder if the “small dog” is defined- because relative to a “big” 120 lb mastiff Billy is a small dog… I would argue that if there is no definite weight limit that small could mean small in energy, small in threat, small in size compared to the ginormous canines rumbling around in the “big” dog area etc.

    Plus I know for SURE that small dogs don’t always play nice so kicking a nice bigger dog out isn’t going to keep the little dogs safer- the dog park in my town is not segregated and I end up having to divert my dog away from the dogs suffering from little man sydrome all the time- I have had to pry a nasty little chihuahua off of my dogs face before- $1,000 vet bill- never have had to do that with big dogs.

    • Cerues says on  04/27/2013 at 11:40 am

      In my area dog parks a “small dog” is defined by weighing less than 30 pounds. But our dog parks also rely on patrons to police themselves, which has it’s own brand of unfairness.

  15. Julie says on  04/26/2013 at 11:36 am

    some comments are totally sidetracked (this is not about you!!!)…the issue is about billie, the dog park, a park ranger & necessary immediate change only!! let’s be productive, so billie can play freely & safely at the dog park again! shame that 1 person complains & change happens. and sarcastic, apathetic ranger is on the case. he needs to be fired & talk only with the people who make change possible. good luck billie & supporters!!

  16. Laurie Gulledge says on  04/26/2013 at 12:13 pm

    Poor Billie. What is that heartless ranger doing working at the dog park? Leave that dog and his owner alone! Let him enjoy his life.

  17. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 12:15 pm

    Sadly this is how a lot of people treat ALL the disabled in our community. My son is mentally challenged and as he got older was kicked out, asked to leave, and excluded from activities that were a great match for him developmentally and would have been good social interaction times with children at his developmental level. This is wrong for this dog just as it is wrong for disabled children and young adults who get excluded from fun activities.

    • Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 3:06 pm

      This isn’t about you or your son, This is about Billy.

    • Anonymous says on  04/27/2013 at 4:12 am

      It had nothing to do with Billy’s disability, but everything to do with his size. End of story.

      • Anonymous says on  04/28/2013 at 11:24 pm

        A lot of times it has to do with the size of the disabled child. She was merely relating to the situation…

        Already sent an email to above listed Contact Personnel with the Parks Dept. Hope everyone else has done the same and been polite. Battering and bashing will only hurt Billy’s case!

        Let’s get him back in his familiar play zone!

  18. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 1:19 pm

    Shame on Santa Barbara Park Ranger!

    • Leslie says on  05/08/2013 at 9:23 am

      Can I just say we need to stop hating on the Park Ranger who was doing his job. I’m sure that once he got there to follow-up on a complaint, he didn’t feel great about it, but he was doing his job…..They received a complaint that there was a large dog in a “for small and timid” dog park and was probably told by his supervisor to go and remove the dog. The person that should be ashamed of themselves is the person that made the complaint…Shame on you. Now we need to get the ruling changed for animals with exceptions…….

  19. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 1:36 pm

    That’s terrible what harm could an old man like him cause and I do not think he is that big hope they come to there sences and allow him some stressless fum
    N in his favorite park god bless

  20. kate maund says on  04/26/2013 at 4:01 pm

    It is a shame and a disgrace that a dog who is that frail should be targeted by another ‘loving dog owner’

  21. Pam says on  04/26/2013 at 4:23 pm

    Whoever the tattle tail was is obviously *not* a dog lover. God forbid that their dog ever needs compassion.

    I emailed the address posted. We’ll see if I get a response.

  22. JT says on  04/26/2013 at 4:56 pm

    I don’t think it’s heartlessness, at least not in the people enforcing the law. They’re just doing their jobs, and may risk their livelihood if they don’t. It’s the overly-controlling idiocy of those MAKING the laws, who think they can legislate, legislate, legislate to try and make things right. Why do we have two full pages of mouse type following a single-page pharma ad? Or boldface warnings accompanying a Looney Tunes cartoon of Elmer Fudd shooting Bugs Bunny square in the face with a 12-gauge, saying “Do not try this at home”?

  23. suzan says on  04/26/2013 at 6:16 pm

    Just sent an email chastising Mr Pederson myself. Is there a petition we could sign?

  24. Pattiey says on  04/26/2013 at 9:00 pm

    I would invoke the handicap laws, get him a handicap, blind, deaf labeled harness. That may help, then go to your city council and pitch a big one. Take the dog. Handicap cannot be excluded!!!!!

    • BethFB says on  05/11/2013 at 2:46 pm

      I agree with you, I would get him that harness stating that. As that would make the park ranger and anyone else who sees Billy, that this is a handicapped dog that is not only blind but deaf too. Everyone sees the service dog jacket on a service dog nod appreciatively towards the owner or the dog, having that jacket on Billy, would bring fellow dog owners over to Marty to see how Billy is doing and making sure that Billy is watched carefully by everyone there at the park.

  25. Anonymous says on  04/26/2013 at 9:21 pm

    Petition to allow poor old inform Airedale Billy, to use the same part of the dog park as the little dogs.

  26. Andrew S. says on  04/26/2013 at 10:02 pm

    Billy The Dog should be allowed to play in the small dog park.

  27. Anonymous says on  04/27/2013 at 2:15 am

    Alright. Let me start off by saying that I am a dog lover. I have five dogs in my family and I am an animal science major. That being said, I find this whole situation completely ridiculous. Let me explain why. First off, we don’t have all of the information. We did not hear any sort of interview from any employee of the park, let alone the park ranger in question. We only have one woman—who, no offense to her, is hardly unbiased in this situation—who offered testimony. Secondly, we know four things about Billy: he is old, deaf, nearly blind, and we have seen for ourselves how he interacts with his environment. I personally have had experience with a similar dog; my golden retriever, Felicia, had cataracts and died at age eleven, only two years younger than Billy. Theoretically, Felicia should have been more spritely and enthusiastic about dog parks and the like than Billy; she was younger, in better physical condition, and could hear. From personal experience, a dog park—of any sort—would NOT have been a good environment for my dog. Dog parks are designed to allow dogs to run free, to “frolic” if you will, and to interact with other dogs. Dog parks are a great way for dogs to socialize and get the exercise they so desperately need. However, just like people, elderly dogs do not exercise and socialize the same way puppies or middle aged dogs will. Older dogs tend to be calmer, like more of a stable environment, and do not generally enjoy rough-housing or playing with other, more energetic dogs. Billy, at least from what I can judge in this video, fits this profile. He has a hard enough time walking; I’m sorry to say it, folks, but he’s not going to be running anywhere.

    As for the issue of the dog park itself…well, you might have guessed by now that I don’t really feel that Billy, or dogs in similar circumstances, belongs in dog parks at all. Ms. Niles could easily take Billy on a walk—or even a jog if he was feeling up to it—in her neighborhood. This would be much more Billy’s speed. Also, as Ms. Niles is obviously an attentive owner, she would be able to judge what Billy can and cannot handle and would keep Billy safe, whether that be from people, cars, other dogs, or himself.
    I understand that we all love dogs and we want the best for Billy, who seems like a real sweetheart, but I think we are letting our emotions cloud our judgment. If Billy was in a smaller dog park, as Anonymous stated, “small dogs don’t always play nice.” How is Billy going to be any better off in the small dog park than in the big dog park? Quite aside from Billy possibly getting injured, he could also potentially injure another dog. Being larger than all of the other dogs in the small dog pen and being blind and deaf, it would be very easy for Billy to step on another dog—we all know how excitable little dogs can be.

    Please stop harassing the park management. They are simply following protocol that is intended to make the dog park serviceable for the greatest amount of dogs as possible. Billy is one case out of many, many dogs that use the park, and adjusting rules to suit one case when other arrangements could easily be made is, to my mind, a little ludicrous.

    As a side note, I would like to point out that originally the “small” dog park was for small and TIMID dogs, not frail dogs. There is a difference, and I believe Billy suits the latter classification, not the former. He seems perfectly friendly to me.

    I do believe the park ranger’s comment that Ms. Niles quoted was unprofessional and snarky. He should receive a verbal reprimand but no more.

  28. Dog mom in Florida says on  04/27/2013 at 7:15 am

    Sadly this dose not surprises me. Several years ago I had to stop going to the dog park with my lab and two little dogs. My lab’s knees were really bad when I adopted her, and surgery was not a good option for her. I would take her to the small dog park, with her two small sisters, because she could not play with large dogs and risk blowing out a knee. The people in the small park were so rude and mean to us about my lab being in a small park they even once called the police on us. It got to the point it was awful to go, so we stop going. To this day I still am in amazement as to how mean people were to a handicapped dog, who only wanted to chase her ball.

  29. Jean says on  04/27/2013 at 9:28 am

    Let Billy enjoy the park in his golden years. Seriously, what is he going to hurt?? He is not going to threaten the small dogs. Have a heart for an older disabled dog…Has he caused any problem in the past year that he has enjoyed this park? Grandfather him in.

  30. Joan, South Africa. says on  04/29/2013 at 5:14 am

    What a lot of bull twang. The dog wont harm anyone due to her problems. How can anyone be sooooo selfish.

  31. Anonymous says on  05/01/2013 at 12:05 am

    This is ridiculous. Billy wasn’t hurting anything! I go to this dog park with my medium sized pooch and she doesn’t like the bigger dogs jumping on her either…sad thing is, the owners don’t care that their dogs are being a nuisance. Let Billy have his freedom!!

  32. Poor sweet Billy. It helps me love him more that he shares our departed dog’s name.

    This is obviously just another example of human stupidity and short-sightedness. Clearly Billy is a danger to no one and being a stickler about saying the park is for small dogs only misses the point entirely.

    I hope Billy will be able to find a safe place to play.

  33. catherine says on  05/08/2013 at 4:39 pm

    billie no matter what his condition may still like company of other dogs so a walk wont do it but it is up to human owners to make sure thier dogs behave no matter what thier size is so all have nice time at park. all my dogs were handicapped in some way but none were badly behaved

  34. Anonymous says on  05/20/2013 at 6:53 am

    Get a life!! Let the dog back into his park!! So what if he is bigger..he fits the criteria of the small dog park!!
    Let him in!!!

  35. Kathy Johnson says on  05/20/2013 at 7:50 am

    A blind, deaf dog should not be taken to a dog park, period. He needs to stay on a leash with his owner right next to him to protect him. This petition is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of, at least so far today…

    • Marc Sayer says on  05/21/2013 at 11:04 pm

      Well, Ms Johnson, just what first hand experience do you have with deaf and blind dogs? Very little if any, I’d wager. And if you have even met one in the flesh, it is clear your preconceptions and limited intelligence have kept you from learning anything from your encounter(s). Your comments are completely inaccurate and based on a host of misconceptions and stereotyping. All dogs should be on-leash in an unconfined area, but off-leash parks are designed so dogs can be off leash. All dogs, even deaf and/or blind ones. And unlike you, I am speaking from experience with these dogs, a lot of experience. The things deaf and blind dogs need protection from most are things like you.

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