[nagdu] . Re: fidelco guide dogs,----?

Tracy Carcione carcione at access.net
Thu Aug 18 18:58:56 UTC 2011

Actually, Artie said that the Fidelco graduates he knows have nothing but
praise for their guides.  It is perfectly possible to get a great guide
dog from a school with which you have some disagreements, even serious
disagreements.  And I have seen schools where the instructors treat the
students with greater respect than some of the admin.  I'm not saying it's
right, but it certainly does happen.

> Artie,
>     On the one hand, you say there is turmoil between some of the
> consumers
> and Fidelco. On the other hand, you say that there is nothing but praise
> from the consumers. It cannot be both ways! Which is it?
>     The reality of the situation is that there was a Fidelco consumers
> group
> that operated as a Yahoo Group for several years. The agreement was that
> the
> staff of Fidelco would not subscribe to the group, allowing them to
> discuss
> issues freely and without retribution. When eliot Russman became the
> Executive Director, he subscribed to the group in violation of the
> original
> agreement. He lurked on the group, not letting subscribers know he was
> reading their messages. As the result of his presence, some of the
> consumers
> had negative experiences. One consumer mentioned that her current guide
> dog
> and her previous guide dog got into a scrap and, when she attempted to
> break
> it up, was accidentally bitten by one of them. A few days later, a trainer
> showed up at her door unannounced and repossessed her harness.
>     When the article I wrote appeared in the Braille Monitor, Fidelco
> consumers began discussing it on the list, relating some of their concerns
> about how that particular consumer was treated and relating their own
> stories of similar mistreatment. Shortly thereafter, Eliot Russman sent a
> message to the moderator stating that use of the Fidelco name was a
> violation of trademark and the list was to be shut down. Interestingly,
> until consumers began expressing their concerns about the administration,
> there was no problem with the list. It was a great way for Mr. Russman to
> keep tabs on consumers. When the consumers began questioning the
> administration, the list - of which Eliot Russman was a part - suddenly
> became a trademark infringement.
>     As I stated in my previous message, Mr. Russman engages in bullying
> behavior that borders on unethical. Such an organization presents serious
> concerns for those of us whose business is the protection of consumers.
> The
> best protection we can offer is to discourage consumers from using their
> services until they can demonstrate to us that they will take the
> necessary
> stepts to treat us with dignity.
> fraternally yours,
> Marion Gwizdala
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Artie." <anolden at tampabay.rr.com>
> To: "NAGDU" <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:31 AM
> Subject: [nagdu] . Re: fidelco guide dogs,----?
>>    Well, the original Fidelco yahoo group was disbanded a few months
>> ago,and a new one started by graduates.  There was some turmoil between
>> SOME grads and the administration, but I didn't pay attention to it as I
>> am not a Fidelco handler.
>>    The Fidelco grads are wonderful people, and have nothing but praise
>> about their guides.
>>    Artie.
>> From: "Marion Gwizdala"
>> As the president of the National Association of Guide Dog Users, I have
>> had numerous stakeholders - consumers, staff members, donors, &
>> volunteers -  report to me that the current administration of Fidelco
>> Guide Dogs for the  Blind engages in behavior that can best be described
>> as "bullying".
>> Consumers have had their dogs and harnesses repossessed by Fidelco with
>> no
>> due process or explanation, have violated their written and verbal
>> agreements, and have engaged in blatant disregard of basic human rights.
>> s's's'sn'n'nipped for brevity.
>> ==================.
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