A white Pit Bull sits calmly during a ride on a Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority Rapid-Line 720 bus on Mother’s Day, May 13. It appears to be on a leash and sitting next to an owner.
An OpposingViews.com reader captured it on his cell phone, along with the date and bus line, and sent it to us. The dog is not wearing a vest indicating it is a service dog, so we decided to make some personal inquiries to try to discover more about this “mystery rider.”
Line 720 begins (or ends, depending upon which way you are traveling) in Commerce, a small industrial/commercial city with a residential population of under 13,000, surrounded by a cluster of other small cities in Southeast Los.Angeles County.
The city’s major employer is the Commerce Casino. The Line 720 Big Red buses are double-length, and look like there is an accordion in the middle. From Commerce, the bus travels though East Los Angeles and the Los Angeles downtown area to Wilshire Blvd. It continues on Wilshire Blvd. through Beverly Hills and ends at the beach in Santa Monica, across the street from the historic Santa Monica pier entrance.
HOW IS A “SERVICE DOG” DEFINED?
Phone calls to Metropolitan Transit Authority customer-service representatives revealed that only service dogs are allowed on public buses, unless the pet is small enough to be in a carrier that fits on his/her human’s lap.
However, drivers are not allowed to ask for paperwork that proves any dog boarding the bus with a passenger has an official “service dog” designation and/or training. They also cannot discriminate by breed.
The MTA advises that, if the driver has reason to believe the animal’s behavior on the bus will be unruly or dangerous to other passengers, the driver can notify a supervisor and an MTA police unit will be dispatched. If the dog actually threatens or attacks a passenger, sheriffs or the local law-enforcement agency would be notified immediately, according to a customer-service representative.
NICE DAY IN VENICE, BUT NO “MYSTERY DOG”
I spent Sunday riding the 720 bus and showing photos of the white Pit Bull to drivers who claim they regularly drive this route and asking shop owners along the waterfront if they know this dog.
I interrupted some well-muscled hunks performing all types of athletic feats on the Venice beach; visited three oceanfront, dog-friendly Perry’s Cafes within walking distance of the pier. Between squawks, I attempted to communicate with the owner of five huge parrots screeching ”hello” to passersby from perches on a chartreuse bicycle in front of the carousel. No one recognized the little white Pit Bull!
So, we will put it out to OpposingViews readers: Does anyone know the mystery Pit Bull riding the Los Angeles MTA bus? And, whether you know this dog or not, what is your opinion on Pit Bulls riding public buses?