For years, Ellen Taft has waged war on animals: everything from banning pit bulls to ridding the city of pygmy goats and potbellied pigs to suing the city in 2000 over an off-leash dog run in Volunteer Park. As the Capitol Hill housewife likes to say, "The U.S. Constitution does not grant dogs, pigs, or animals any rights whatsoever, nor does it guarantee dog ownership as a right of the people."
The anti-pet crusader has now turned her sights on the Barking Dog Alehouse, a kid- and dog-friendly watering hole in Ballard (click here to see Mike Seely's "Where to Drink With Your Kids" story).
Taft, who said "I'm too busy to talk, bye-bye" when reached for comment this afternoon, has written Seattle Weekly a letter to the editor that takes umbrage at Barking's Dog dog-tolerant stance.
"Barking Dog Alehouse (BDAH) is not even pretending that they are within the law. By state law, non-service animal pets, are not allowed in establishments which serve food," Taft wrote. "The management should sit down with their insurance agent and a lawyer, to ascertain what kind of liability they are risking in openly advertising themselves as Dog Friendly."
Taft goes on to say that if someone were bitten or attacked on the premises, "the
insurance company would not cover the medical bills incurred by a victim of the dog attack, because the pet did not have a 'legitimate' reason for being there . . . Openly advertising that a restaurant is "dog friendly" is a lawsuit waiting to happen."
Parents, she added, should beware of taking children to a place where dogs are running around, because "why risk it, if there is no insurance policy to cover medical bills?"
Taft suggested Seattle Weekly should publish the pictures of people's faces injured by dog attacks "instead of perpetuating a self-serving myth about dogs."
Seattle Weekly awaits a call from Barking Dog management, who were not immediately available to respond to Taft's concerns.
As to what unpleasantries soured Taft on dogs, Seattle Weekly, in a short profile of her, wrote:
At 31, she was a graduate student in Minnesota who used the bus to get across town. But it seemed that wandering hounds who knew her schedule didn't like her on their block; they followed, chased, and otherwise menaced her as she left her condo. "Honest, I could not get to the bus stop for four months without some kind of dog doing something to me," she says.
Then one day she missed the bus. While walking down the street, she was jumped by two neighborhood dogs named Thor and Fluff. The attack left her black-and-blue and scarred, she says. She took the owner to small-claims court and attended hearings to have the dogs euthanized. Her death wish proved successful.
When she relocated to Seattle, Taft was astounded by the hordes of bounding, unleashed dogs in Volunteer Park. But it was a pig, somehow, that wound up in her crosshairs. "He was huge, absolutely huge. He was immense," she says. This was Albert the Pig, a potbelly who, in the early '90s, relaxed with his owner by the conservatory and was never on a leash, according to Taft. One night, Taft happened to walk by a bar on 15th Avenue. Inside was Albert, slurping beer from a bowl.