Human rights complaint filed after autistic boy denied dog adoption

The Doan family from Listowel, Ont. is filing a human rights complaint after they were told earlier this year they couldn't adopt a dog from the Kismutt Dog Rescue near St. Marys, Ont. because their son is autistic. 

The family is filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario about being denied a dog adoption in March.

“The claim, while it’s my son’s name, isn’t just on his behalf. It’s on behalf of the autism community as a whole,” said Erin Doan.

Kismutt says they haven’t adopted out dogs to families with autistic children since two incidents where dogs were injured by those children — one incident occurred in 2008 and the other in 2012.

During the initial firestorm back in March, Kismutt owners justified their policy by saying a volunteer of theirs who works with autistic children told them, “99 per cent of autistic children have outbursts and can be aggressive and violent.”

Doan says that’s simply not true.

“There was a lot of discriminatory and incorrect and misperceptions that were put out there. To the point, they are violations of Ontario’s Human Rights Code,” she said.

Doan says the goal of the complaint is to try and get Kismutt to change their policy and educate other organizations about autism.

“It’s an opportunity to take a stand. I’m sure there are other businesses out there besides Kismutt, they just happened to be the one I ran up against,” said Doan.

Kismutt, who have been rescuing and adopting dogs for more than 20 years, have received support for their stance and said in a previous statement in March, “Our dogs are adopted out strictly as pets. They are not trained service dogs. This in our contract at the time of adoption, and has been in our contract for the past 22 years.”

CTV News London reached out to Kismutt regarding the filing of the human rights complaint, but have yet to hear back. 

The Doans have since found another dog for Henry named Chico, and they’re getting along fabulously, according to Henry’s mom.

“People that are on the spectrum are no less deserving of the love of an animal, than someone that isn’t on the spectrum,” Doan added. 

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