In a video posted to Facebook by San Francisco resident and attorney Gina Tomaselli, a man with a pit bull laying calmly across his lap is seen sitting in a cable car as the man argues with a San Francisco Police Officer.
On Saturday afternoon, around 1:15pm, Tomaselli, who does not represent the disabled man, says the cable car driver refused to drive as long as there was a pit bull on board – even after the man identified the dog as a service animal. Police were called to the scene and that’s when Tomaselli began filming.
“I won’t get off the bus because I have a right to ride this. I have every right to ride this with my dog,” the man says, referring to the cable car operator, “Because he’s afraid of pit bulls, this is happening. This whole issue, you’ve been called here because of him.”
The officer said, “Sir, take a breath.”
The man responds, “Don’t tell me to take a breath, because, I am, I am going to be arrested? You’re going to arrest me. I am irate. I am not impeding anything. I’ve been going on my day.”
One SFMTA staffer begins to ask riders to disembark the cable car. The man’s dog continues to sit calmly during the entire ordeal.
According to the American’s With Disabilities Act, service dogs do not need to be wearing an identification vest and are not required to have “papers” or certification of any kind. There are only two questions that can be asked of a person in regards to their service animal: “Is this animal required because of a disability?” And, “How does it assist you?”
It is unclear whether the officer asked the disabled man either of those questions before demanding he exit the cable car.
According to Tomaselli, the man was issued a citation.