When Mark Shaffer named his Boston Terrier Chopper the Biker Dog, it wasn’t just a clever name. The San Diego, California, dog does, in fact, wear a leather vest, goggles and ride around on a little motorcycle that has his own personalized license plate on the bag. But it turns out that’s a huge problem for Pet Partners, the organization that certified Chopper as a therapy dog.
Pet Partners has suspended Chopper’s certification after five years because of his tiny tough guy wardrobe, reports 10News-KGTV, and his owner is more than a little upset.
“There was anger and there was a lot of hurt,” Shaffer told the station.
According to Pet Partners, Chopper is not allowed to wear a costume while he works (which makes us wonder what the organization would think about The Village People) and, in a written statement, it said that Shaffer had been given a warning about the issue before.
“While we recognize that many pet owners enjoy costuming their pets at home and even in public settings… the use of costumes and clothing in an animal-assisted therapy environment raises a number of concerns for the animal, the handler and the clients or patients being seen,” the statement began.
This is how I roll! pic.twitter.com/mDHujjsc7Z
— ChopperTheBikerDog (@ChopperBikerDog) June 2, 2015
On Chopper’s Facebook page, Schaffer argues that Chopper isn’t wearing a costume, but a vest — the same kind of vest that other therapy dogs wear (which, he says, is similar to what Pet Partners sells) while they perform their duties. ”
So, according to [Pet Partner’s] guidelines, Chopper is not in violation, according to the definition of a ‘Costume,'” Shaffer wrote (and those additional quotes are all his). “Chopper wears a ‘vest,’ and goggles made specifically for dogs to protect their eyes.”
So far, Pet Partners remains unconvinced. Shaffer says that, rather than strip Chopper of his colors, he’ll register the dog with another organization.
Ride on, little dude. Ride on.