(SERVICE DOGS) State Rep. Earle Banks has initiated legislation that would legalize the use of Diabetic Alert Dogs in schools and other public places. The bill was brought up after a Mississippi Middle School teacher, Christina McCurdy, who is a Type 1 diabetic, was denied the right to bring her service dog, Jinx, with her to work. McCurdy insists that Jinx beats all the other methods for alerting her of low blood sugar. It’s shocking that Diabetic Alert Dogs aren’t considered to be on the same level as other service dogs, when they are just as critical to help avoid potential life threatening emergencies. Read on to find out more about the bill.—Global Animal 
Many people with diabetes rely on their service dogs to alert them of possible life threatening emergencies. Photo credit: Type 1 Diabetes Foundation
Many people with diabetes rely on their service dogs to alert them of possible life threatening emergencies. Photo credit: Type 1 Diabetes Foundation

Gary Pettus, Clarion Ledger

A Morton schoolteacher’s ongoing fight to take her Diabetic Alert Dog with her to work has triggered a bill in the state Legislature.

Christina McCurdy, a teacher at Bettye Mae Jack Middle School, is a Type 1 diabetic who says she depends on her service dog to give her potentially lifesaving warnings that her blood sugar level is about to drop.

Her story, first told in an Oct. 3 Clarion-Ledger article, prompted state Rep. Earle Banks, D-Jackson, to introduce legislation that would authorizes the use of Diabetic, or Diabetes, Alert Dogs in schools and public places.

The bill has the support of the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, which announced in February that it will help certain child and adult Type 1 diabetics purchase the pricey service animals.

McCurdy, who has not been able to persuade Scott County School District trustees that she needs her alert dog during work hours, has hired an attorney to try to win them over.

“Nothing has changed since October,” she said.

“The school board still has not given me a reason for denying my request.”

The request pertains to Jinx, a female boxer trained to warn McCurdy when a change in her blood sugar is coming so she can take insulin injections or glucose tablets in time to fend off a medical emergency.

As with other Diabetic Alert Dogs, Jinx uses her sense of smell to detect a lowered glucose level, or hypoglycemia; she places a paw on her owner’s leg to warn her.

McCurdy said she believes Jinx’s response time is quicker than meters or other mechanical monitoring devices. McCurdy said she suffered kidney damage before she became Jinx’s owner in July.

“It’s outrageous that she isn’t allowed to have her alert dog in the school,” said Chase Bryan, an attorney with the Jackson firm of Forman, Perry, Watkins, Krutz & Tardy.

With Bryan’s assistance, McCurdy filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“We have received a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC,” Bryan said, “and are in the process of filing a lawsuit.”

Read the rest of the story at the Clarion Ledger: http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20120312/NEWS010504/203120314/Bill-would-allow-Diabetic-Alert-Dogs-schools-public-places