Stay Classy, Sen. Tim Neville (Born This Way Edition)

An exchange in the Colorado Senate last Friday evening is provoking much controversy today–during debate over House Bill 16-1426, which would make it a petty offensive to falsely claim a pet as a trained “service animal” so as to obtain accommodations provided by law for such animals.

During debate over the bill Friday, GOP Sen. Tim Neville had a moment of oh-so cleverness:

HOLBERT: Any further discussion on House Bill 1426? Sen. Neville.

NEVILLE: (Chuckles) Thank you Mister Chair. You know, we, we-we’re entering strange times. I mean we have a big challenge, that uh, we hear with, uh, the transgender folks. You know they decide, you know basically what they are. [Pols emphasis] I mean, I guess these service dogs, you know, people are deciding ‘is this a service dog,’ is this uh, a dog?

Hard to miss Neville’s implication here–since transgender citizens “decide what they are,” why should we be able to do the same thing with service animals?

Now, anyone with the smallest shred of tolerance or even decency in a public debate should know that claiming a transgender person has “chosen” their gender identity, as opposed to that being how they were born, is considered deeply offensive. And that’s before you compare transgender people to, you know, a fucking dog.

Sen. Pat Steadman had better composure to respond to this over-the-top insult than we would have.

STEADMAN: One of the important things about this bill to understand, colleague, is that no puppy is born to be a service dog.

(Off-camera groan)

STEADMAN: Only those dogs that are trained to be service dogs, highly trained, can wear the, the identification that says ‘don’t pet me I’m working.’ That’s what this bill’s about.

The point of the bill, of course, was to protect a bonafide class of true service animals who qualify for disability accommodations above the level of a mere pet. This distinction is important to ensure access to housing and other protected needs of disabled people that could potentially be encumbered by having a service dog.

As for Sen. Neville? It was just another chance to trot out his inner douchebag.

5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    While I appreciate your support of transgendered people, I call double bullshit on your description of a service animal as a "fucking dog."

    In the literal sense, service dogs have almost all gone through surgical procedures that render "fucking" quite impractical.

    In the metaphorical sense, service dogs — like almost every decently treated dogs, reward their people with love and affection as well as vision, protection, and a thousand other services that make this crappy world we live in a lot more loving and bearable.   The fact that the concept of a phony service dog even exists simply shows how much we depend on our furry friends.

    So the next time you want to express contempt for a low-life creature, forget about calling it a "fucking dog,"  Now, a "fucking Neville" might do nicely.

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    I feel sorry for my fellow JeffCo residents who have Senator Neville, the newest nattering nabob of negativity, as their state senator. But then, maybe they're getting what they voted for.

  3. Jorgensen says:

    Neville's comment is unnecessary and insulting – and so is the premise of this entire bill. The bill implies that people are masquerading dogs as being certified service dogs – I doubt there are many cases. The broader implication and misunderstanding of this bill will affect owners of companion dogs – primarily senior citizens and vets – who may denied rental housing or charged exorbitant fees which are not affordable. What happened to the Republican Party that demands LESS government intrusion and claims to care about vets and seniors? 

  4. Jorgensen says:

    This bill passed only because legislators did not fully read and understand the consequences – and TO GAIN CAMPAIGN FUNDING FROM THE LOBBYIST WHO PUSHED IT. Legislators compromised their integrity, intelligence and constituents all for lobbyist Axiom Strategies to fuel their re-election campaigns. The legislators didn't give a damn about vets, seniors, impaired children and adults, and others who are now forced to go through an expensive process – validating a medical or psychological need, a vetenarian exam plus dog training certification. All of these expensive demands to appease the whims of short sighted, greedy legislators.

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