Mall Santa turns away 7-year-old girl with autism and pit bull service dog, ‘Pup-Cake’

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Courtesy: Santos family via WPMT

Courtesy: Santos family via WPMT

One mall Santa might be getting some coal in his stocking this year.

According to the Orange County Register, Abcde Santos, who pronounces her first name “ab-suh-dee,” and Pup-Cake stood in line for 30 minutes to meet with the unnamed mall Santa.

However, he declined to meet the girl because he feared the 5-year-old pit bull.

Last week, Santa Claus and a helper elf from The Shops at Mission Viejo in California turned away a 7-year-old girl with autism and her service dog, a pit bull named Pup-Cake.

“After the Santos family offered to remove the dog from the area, the building, Santa still refused to see the child,” Julie Miller, a family friend who runs a Facebook page dedicated to Pup-Cake and service animals, told the Register.

View this post on Instagram

Smiling in a woof-tastic wonderland!

A post shared by PupCake The Service Dog (@pupcaketheservicedog) on

“Autism is accompanied by many sensory issues, included self-harm behaviors and feeling overwhelmed at times by lights, sounds, especially when waiting,” according to the dog’s Facebook page. “Pup-cake the service dog’s job is to intervene in those moments.”

Word of the diss led to a viral campaign, #savePupcakesChristmas, with sympathizers angered over the incident posting comments on the Facebook page for The Shops at Mission Viejo.

The mall posted this statement:

“We share in your concerns regarding the situation today involving a Santa at The Shops at Mission Viejo. We do not condone the behavior displayed by Santa and have worked with our partners at Noerr, the company that hires our Santas, to replace this Santa with one that is more compassionate to our guests’ needs.”

It later shared a note from Miller about how property management and the mall had moved swiftly to correct the Bad Santa problem.

The mall added, “We look forward to welcoming back the Santos family and Pup-Cake for a special Santa experience.”

A representative for the Noerr Programs, which provided the Santa and helper, said the pair have been transferred and given other duties.

“For 26 years, The Noerr Programs has devoted itself to sharing the heart of Santa through the creation of magical Christmas experiences for all children and their families,” CEO Judy Noerr said in a statement. “The entire team at The Noerr Programs sincerely apologizes for any distress caused by this situation, and truly regrets the incident. We have reached out to the girl’s family, in an effort to extend a private Santa visit with complimentary photos of both the child and her service dog.”

The Santos family has declined to be interviewed.

Miller told the paper the family is pleased with the decision to replace the Santa and hopes it will lead to better awareness.

“They want people to get educated, not about autism or pit bulls, but about the Disabilities Act so that little girls like Abcde won’t go and see Santa and end up crying,” she said.

14 comments

  • jessica

    I have a severely disabled child. the family was humilated in PUBLIC. if it was me I would sue the hell out of Both companies. Santa should go to her house with presents and they should get a apology. just cus they have disabilities doesnt mean they arent people. Us parents w disabled children need to FIGHT back n not be Passive. WE ARE NOT 2nd class esp our children!!!!

    • miles (dave)

      im not a big fan of treating disabled children any different than other children within reason. (one of my best friends was very autistic anyone who talked to him would know it. it was very obvious now because he was not treated any different he is married and is supporting his own family working a job he found him self i have a few compleatly able friends who are much much much less productive) so im not a big fan of treating this case any different than if santa had not wanted to see any other child in line that day.

      im on the fence about discipline for santa, i think its in the details the truth is some people have no idea how to deal with disabled people it can be very awkward for some people and they lock up and let there fear get the best of them. i dont think disabled children happen enough to say this Santa shouldnt be santa because i think its probably not a common thing for him to come acrossed, and i dont think he just hates disabled children.

      however if santa was unreasonably rude then maybe he should be fired

    • Brian

      The parents should be sued for naming their child Abcde… she doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell with parents like that. Now, I have a son who is on the Autism spectrum so I can sympathize, however not everyone should be forced to deal with your dog or other service animal. My son is into snakes, and we have a few as pets. Should he take a snake to see Santa? How would that go over? Probably not very well. Santa should neither apologize nor go to their house with presents. Jessica, you need to get a grip. It’s parents like you who think their precious offspring are somehow divine that are contributing to the downfall of society.

      • carol

        I agree. What is wrong with people that they name their kids this? And I am so sick of people saying they will sue over everything. So something went wrong. You don’t deserve money and to be on the news every night.

  • James Walker

    That “Santa” should have been embarrassed similarly with his name released to the public along with the announcement that his butt was canned. Seriously, how in the world does anyone who works in a retail environment today not understand the Americans with Disabilities Act? It’s pretty simple at its core: people with disabilities get special accommodations so that they’re not ostricised from public function / interactions. Most ADA accommodations are far from unreasonable (like the family mentioned above. Using the dog until the child got through the waiting line should have been more than sufficient) and most cost the retailer little to nothing (someone might need an employee to assist them during their visit. Which, is technically a cost).

  • John

    I don’t see what the problem is, she’s disabled she’s different. If the Santa didn’t feel comfortable then he should have that right. It’s stupid to make a big deal out of something so meaningless.

  • Barry Soetoro

    What the hell is up with young children sitting on a grown mans lap, especially when the man is a stranger dressed up as a “jolly old elf”? Mall Santas need to be banned. Or failing that, called out for what they are; pedos.

  • Tom McCartney (@TomMcCartney71)

    In North America, from 1982-2013, Pit Bull breeds and mixes have seriously attacked 2,990 humans that resulted in 1,777 maimings and 275 deaths.

    The bullmastiff is a Pit bull type dog with the same genetic makeup and danger of a pit bull.

    The Bullmastiff was a cross of 40% Old English Bulldog or pit bull type dog and 60% English Mastiff

    In North America, from 1982-2013, Bullmastiffs have been responsible for 105 serious attacks on humans, resulting in 61 maimings and 15 deaths.
    In North America from 1982-2013, Rottweilers were responsible for 514 attacks on humans, resulting in 81 deaths.

    Rottweiler mixes were responsible for 30 attacks on humans, resulting in 4 deaths
    ********************************************************************************
    The following is a list of the top 10 dog breeds involved in dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada involving humans from September 1982 to December 31, 2013, based on a larger table compiled by Merritt Clifton, former editor of Animal People, an animal rights charity/news group. Clifton now is the editor of Animals 24-7.

    A Bullmastiff is considered a pit bull type dog and a pit bull mix between a pit bull and a mastiff and is 40% pit bull.

    Breed ****** Attacks doing bodily harm ****** Maimed ****** Deaths
    1. Pit bull **********2792 ***********************677 **********263
    2. Rottweiler *******514 ************************294 **********81
    3. Bull Mastiff ******105 ************************61 ***********15
    4. German Shepherd 102 **********************63 ***********15
    5. Wolf Hybrid ******85 *************************49 ***********19
    6. Akita **************68 ************************50 ************8
    7. Boxer *************62 ************************29 ************7
    8. Chow *************58 ************************39 ************7
    9. Pit bull/Rottweiler mix 50 ********************15 ************15
    10.Labrador ********50 *************************39 ************3

    The report states that the numbers are compiled from press accounts dating to 1982. It only includes attacks by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry, as designated by animal control officers or others with evident expertise, which have been kept as pets.

    All accounts are cross-checked by date, location and identity of the victim, according to the report.
    Attacks by police dogs, guard dogs and dogs trained specifically to fight are not included in the report.
    ********************************************************************************
    About 31,400 dogs attacked about 61,500 other animals in the U.S. in 2013, killing 43,500 and seriously injuring 18,100.

    The animals killed included about 12,000 dogs, 8,000 cats, 6,000 hooved animals, and 17,000 other small domestic animals, primarily poultry.
    The seriously injured included about 12,400 dogs, 4,000 cats, and 1,700 hooved animals. Few small mammals and poultry survived reported dog attacks.

    Pit bulls inflicted 99% of the total fatal attacks on other animals (43,000); 96% of the fatal attacks on other dogs (11,520); 95% of the fatal attacks on livestock (5,700) and on small mammals and poultry (16,150); and 94% of the fatal attacks on cats (11,280).

    About 30,000 pit bulls were involved in attacks on other animals, many of them killing multiple other animals.
    There are about 3.2 million pit bulls in the U.S. at any given time, according to the annual Animal24-7 surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption via online classified ads.

    Thus in 2013 about one pit bull in 107 killed or seriously injured another animal, compared with about one dog in 50,000 of other breeds.
    Nationally, fatal and disfiguring attacks by dogs from shelters and rescues have exploded from zero in the first 90 years of the 20th century to 80 since 2010, including 58 by pit bulls, along with 22 fatal & disfiguring attacks by other shelter dogs, mostly Rottweilers & bull mastiffs.

    Altogether, 33 U.S. shelter dogs have participated in killing people since 2010, including 24 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, and two Rottweilers.
    The only dogs rehomed from U.S. shelters to kill anyone before 2000 were two wolf hybrids, rehomed in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
    ********************************************************************************
    Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to May.25, 2013.
    By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2013, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows the breeds most responsible for serious injury and death.

    Study highlights
    Pit bull type dogs make up only 6% of all dogs in the USA.
    The combination of Pit Bulls, rottweilers, their close mixes and wolf hybrids and other Pit Bull Type Dogs:

    84% of attacks that induce bodily harm.

    75% of attacks to children.

    87% of attack to adults.

    72% of attacks that result in fatalities.

    80% that result in maiming
    ********************************************************************************

    Merritt Clifton Editor Of Animals24-7:
    I have logged fatal & disfiguring dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada since September 1982.

    Of the 5,131 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, 3,558 (68%) were pit bulls; 559 were Rottweilers; 4,396 (85%) were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, bull mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes.

    Of the 574 human fatalities, 305 were killed by pit bulls; 88 were killed by Rottweilers; 437 (75%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 3,229 people who were disfigured, 2,208 (68%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 329 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 2,687 (84%) were disfigured by molosser breeds.

    Pit bulls–exclusive of their use in dogfighting–also inflict more than 70 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class.

    Fatal and disfiguring attacks by dogs from shelters and rescues have exploded from zero in the first 90 years of the 20th century to 80 in the past four years, including 58 by pit bulls, along with 22 fatal & disfiguring attacks by other shelter dogs, mostly Rottweilers & bull mastiffs.

    The only dogs rehomed from U.S. shelters to kill anyone, ever, before 2000 were two wolf hybrids in 1988 and 1989. 33 U.S. shelter dogs & one U.K. shelter dog have participated in killing people since 2010, including 24 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, and two Rottweilers.

    Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are together less than 7% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.

  • Tom McCartney (@TomMcCartney71)

    2014 Annual release: Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties, States and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Pit Bull Laws. Nearly 100 new jurisdictions added from last year, despite losing three states to anti-BSL laws. Remember, this document is “fractional” as thousands of U.S. jurisdictions do not have their ordinances online.

    Recently Denmark made it’s Ban on 13 pit bull type dogs permanent across the country.

    Aurora, CO. just voted by more then 2 to 1 to keep their Ban on pit bull type dogs.

    Kansas City, Kansas voted to keep their pit bull ban recently.

    The Ban on pit bulls in one King County city will remain.

    Enumclaw, WA. Bans pit bulls and the Enumclaw City Council was looking at an ordinance to end the ban.

    After more than an hour of public comments were heard, the city council voted unanimously to keep the ban.

    Fall River, WI has enacted a new Breed Specific Legislation against pit bull type dogs.

    The Burlington City Council upheld an ordinance that bans pit bulls after hearing feedback from members of the community Monday Oct.6th in Burlington N.D.

    LaFayette, Tennessee enacted a highly restrictive pit bull type dog BSL requiring it be registered with AC, a short leash, muzzle, confirmed kennel, photo, sign, no resale or transfer within the city.

    Carroll County, Miss. recently enacted a pit bull Ban as well with all grandfathered pit bull type dogs having to be leaches, muzzled, kenneled with liability insurance.

    Reynoldsburg, Ohio & Yakima WA both recently reaffirmed their pit bull type dog BSL Bans and kept them in place.!

    FORT THOMAS, Ky, A 26 year ban on owning a pit bull in the city of Fort Thomas was kept in place Aug.4th after attempts to have it over turned were rejected by city council.

    Over 850 Cities, Towns & 26 Counties, 292 US Military bases in 37 states in the US currently have BSL, Breed Specific Legislation against pit bull type dogs as do over 40 other countries.

    In the Prov. of Ontario in Canada Pit Bull type dogs have been banned in all 444 cities and towns in Ontario.

    Country’s,

    Cities, county’s, Provinces, Military Services & Towns where Pit

    Bulls type Dogs are Banned or severely restricted:

    http://www.scribd.com/…/Estimated-U-S-Cities-Counties-State…

    Animal Planet

    Pit Bulls Already Banned in a Dozen Countries

    By Terrence McCoy Wed., Feb. 27 2013

    Pit bulls have been banned the world over as well as over 700 cities, towns and counties in the US alone.

    The prohibition on the pit bull type dog wouldn’t be anything unusual.

    In 1989, Miami may have been one of the first communities to ban pit bulls — but it sure hasn’t been the last, raising questions as to whether it’s only a matter of time before every municipality imposes some sort of regulation on the animal.

    Already, more than a dozen countries have banned pit bulls, making it, quite possibly, the most regulated and feared dog in the canine world.

    Composed from various online resources, here’s a breakdown of the bans and regulations:

    Countries that have enacted regulation on pit bulls (or some deviation):

    **In 1991, Singapore prohibited the entry of pit bulls into the country.

    **In 1993, the Netherlands banned pit bulls.

    **In 1997, Poland enacted legislation enforcing pit bull owners to display “clear warning signs” and keep the animal behind reinforced fencing.

    **In 2000, France banned pit bulls. The goal was to let the breed “die out.”

    **In 2001, Germany banned pit bulls.

    **In 2001, Puerto Rico banned pit bulls.

    **In 2003, New Zealand banned the importation of pit bulls.

    **In 2004, Italy banned pit bulls.

    **In 2009, Australia prohibited the imports of pit bulls.

    **In 2009, Ecuador banned pit bulls as pets.

    **In 2010, Denmark banned pit bulls and pit bull breeding.

    **In 2014, Venezuela will ban pit bulls.

    Nationwide, a ban on pit bulls is also far from exceptional.

    Cities that have laid down some sort of legislation:

    Sioux City, Iowa

    Council Bluffs, Iowa

    Independence, Missouri

    Royal City, Washington

    Denver, Colorado

    Springfield, Missouri

    Youngstown, Ohio;

    Melvindale, Michigan

    Livingston County, Michigan.

  • Tom McCartney (@TomMcCartney71)

    42 People dead by dog attack in 2014
    Pit bull type dogs killed 33 of them directly.
    17 killed by pit bull type dogs directly of the 32 dead are children.

    Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had
    been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression
    before’, and knew the victim.

    Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (17):

    Kara E. Hartrich, 4 years old, Bloomington, Illinois. **

    Je’vaeh Maye, 2 years old, Temple Texas. **

    Braelynn Rayne Coulter, 3 years old, High Point, North Carolina. **

    Kenneth Santillan, 13 years old, Patterson, N.J. by a Bullmastiff

    Raymane Camari Robinson, 2 years old, Killeen, TX by a Bullmastiff **

    Mia Derouen, 4 years old, Houma, Louisiana **

    Christopher Malone, 3 years old, Thornton, MS **

    John Harvard, 5 year old, Riverside, AL **

    Kassi Haith, 4 years old, Felton, Del.

    Demonta Collins, 13 years old, Augusta, Georgia

    he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car and was killed.

    Davon Jiggetts,17 years old, Riverdale, Georgia

    he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car as was the pit bull, both were killed.

    Holden William Garrison-10 weeks old, Springfield Township, MI **

    Friends of family state that the dog is a Pit bull Mix a Catahoula Hound mixed with Pit Bull.

    Logan Shepard, 4 years old, Riverview, Florida **

    Jonathon Quarles Jr, 7 months old, Dayton, Ohio. **

    Joel Chirieleison, 6 years old, Fanning Springs, FL **

    Deriah Solem, 22 months, ST. Charles, Mo. **

    Javon Dade, Jr, 4 years old, Goulds, FL **

    Adult fatalities by pit bull type (15):

    Christina Burleson, 43 years old, Houston, Texas. **

    Klonda S. Richey, 57 years old, Dayton, Ohio. by two Bullmastiff’s

    Nancy Newberry, 77 years old, Phoenix, AZ. **

    Dorothy Hamilton, 85 years old, Kaufman, TX **

    Petra Aguirre, 83 years old, San Antonio TX **

    Betty Clark, 75 years old, San Antonio TX **

    Katie Morrison, 20-years old, Smiths Station, AL **

    Rita Pepe, 93 years old, Branford, Conn by a rescued pit bull

    Craig Sytsma, 46 years old, Metamora, Mich.2 cane corsos and Italian Pit bull type dog.

    Jessica Dawn Norman, 33-years old, Sebring, FL

    Cindy Whisman, 59 years old, Madison Township, Ohio **

    Daniel Glass, 51 years old, Lamar, Mississippi.

    Alice Payne, 75 years old, Cave City, AR. **

    Juan Fernandez, 59 years old, Modesto, CA

    Alemeaner Dial, 83 YEARS OLD, Robeson County, N.C. **

    That’s 89% killed by attacking pit bull type dogs.

    Pit Bull type dogs are only about 6% of the entire dog population.

    Deanne Lynn Coando 40 years old, Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming

    8 year old girl, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota

    Stella Antanaitis, 91 years old, Stamford, CT, Keeshond mix **

    Bobbie Cheveallier, 85 years old, Pollock, LA

    Jose Robles, 62 Years old, Madison, NC

    Summer Sears, 4 years old, Tallassee, AL by Husky/German Shepard Cross

    Nyhiem Wilfong, 1 year old, Caldwell County, N.C. by Rottweiler. **

    89-year-old Annabell Martin, Corona, CA. by her grandson’s three Rottweilers.**

    7 years old, Logan Meyer, Hustisford, WI by a Rottweiler. **

    Non-bite fatalities:

    Carlos Eligio Trevina – 54 y.o. – Idaho Falls ID ** – [Jan 9] – Died of a heart attack immediately after breaking up a fight between his seven pit bulls / pit mixes

    *******************************************************************

    33 People dead by dog attack in 2013.

    Pit bull type dogs killed thirty of them. sixteen of the twenty-nine dead are children.

    Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression before’, and knew the victim.

    Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (16):

    Christian Gormanous – 4 yrs old Montgomery County, TX

    Isaiah Aguilar – 2 yrs old Sabinal, TX

    Ryan Maxwell – 7 yrs old ** Galesburg, IL.

    Dax Borchardt – 14 mos old ** Walworth, WI.

    Monica Laminack – 21 mos old ** Ellabelle, GA.

    Tyler Jett – 7 yrs old Callaway, FL.

    Jordyn Arndt – 4 yrs old ** Prairie City, IA.

    Beau Rutledge – 2 yrs old ** Fulton County, GA.

    Ayden Evans- 5 yrs old ** Jessieville, AR.

    Nephi Selu – 6 yrs old ** Union City, CA.

    Arianna Jolee Merrbach – 5 yrs old Effingham, SC.

    Daniel (surname as yet not revealed) – 2 yrs old (Gilbert, Arizona) **

    Samuel Eli Zamudio – 2 yrs old** Colton, CA

    Jordan Ryan– 5 yrs old Baker city, Oregon

    Levi Watson-Bradford-4 years old** White County, Arkansas

    Jah’niyah White – 2 years old ** Chicago, Ill

    Adult fatalities by pit bull type (13):

    Betty Todd – 65 yrs old ** Hodges, SC

    Elsie Grace – 91 yrs old ** Hemet, CA

    Claudia Gallardo – 38 yrs old Stockton, CA.

    Pamela Devitt – 63 yrs old Littlerock, CA.

    Carlton Freeman – 80 yrs old Harleyville, SC.

    Linda Oliver – 63 yrs old Dayton, TX.

    James Harding – 62 yrs old -Baltimore, MD

    chased into traffic by two attacking pit bulls

    Juan Campos – 96 yrs old Katy, Texas.

    Terry Douglass 56 years old. **Baltimore, MD

    Katherine Atkins-25 years old ** Kernersville, NC

    Nga Woodhead-65 years old Spanaway, WA.

    Joan Kappen, 75 years old Hot Springs Ark

    Michal Nelson, 41 years old Valencia County, New Mexico **

    (1 non-pit type killing) [Rachel Honabarger – 35 yrs old – mauled to death by her own GSD mix] Coshocton, OH.

    (1 husky-mix killing, unknown if the other half of the dog was pit bull) [Jordan Lee Reed – 5 yrs old] Kotzebue, AK

    (1 Shiba Inu killing) Mia Gibson – age 3 months, of Gibson, OH – mauled to death by family Shiba Inu.

    Three of the pit bull type dogs were BULL mastiffs, ie 40% pit-fighting bulldog.

    If 27 of 33 dead were killed by pit bull attack, that’s 82% dead by pit attack, 9% dead by ‘molosser’, 3% by some kind of GSD mix, 3% by a husky + possibly pit mix, 3% by Shiba Inu.

    If you count the pit-mix mastiffs as pit bull types, that’s 91% killed by attacking pit bull types. Pit types are only about 6% of the entire dog population.

    The man who ran into traffic kept pit bulls himself. He knew perfectly well what the two stranger pit bulls that were chasing him would do if they caught him, so he preferred to risk a swift death by oncoming car.

    534 maimed by pit type dogs 2013 (as of November.28).

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