Statement on harassment from Jay Grant

At IADA we have been in receipt of a campaign of harassment from a member of the public who is a former applicant. There has been police involvement on two occasions and we apparently have a good case for bringing a libel suit, but we are unsure about this as it would eat a lot of the charity’s resources.

We have put off making this statement as it is not pleasant subject matter, but as it stands we have been afraid to update the charity social media for fear of reprisals from this man, and it is time for this to come to an end.

We have confirmed with the most recent police officer to visit us in person, that it us acceptable for us to make this statement.

 

James Grant, often known as Jay Grant, is someone who applied to our charity back in 2016. We cannot disclose the specifics of his application, but in checking references we confirmed that he did not actually meet our requirements. However, we offered him an interview anyway, in the hope that we may still be able to help him.

Despite his statements about IADA, Jay himself was the one who rejected our offer of a place with us.

This was his response to the letter that we sent offering him an interview:

email 1

Firstly, he claims that we took several months to contact him, and as I pointed out in my reply to him, this is not true, his application form was signed at the end of June, and we contacted him in July to tell him that we had not received a response from one of his references. By the beginning of August, just before he was to send this email, we were offering him a place. That is one month, not several months.

I also explained in my reply to James why he did not, in fact, take his dog through two years of ADUK training in the space of a month, and he did not have an “ADUK badge.” On the off-chance that he actually believed he had obtained one and was not just telling me a bizarre lie, I did forward the conversation to Assistance Dogs UK, although I am unsure if they reached out to Jay as the reply was simply “Thanks for letting us know about this.”

His remark about travelling to Worcester is in regard to us asking him to come to Hampshire for his interview. Jay even had to tick an eligibility box on his application, saying that he was willing to travel to Hamsphire, as we are unlikely to be able to visit most applicants. Despite having ticked this box, he was clearly in denial of it here.

Likewise with the need to travel to Hampshire, he had to confirm while applying that he acknowledge that any charges levied by doctors for us asking them for references, must be paid by the applicant (because if they weren’t, the charity would run out of money very quickly). Despite also agreeing to this in his application, we received a bill from a GP surgery that had actually claimed not to know Jay when we asked them for a reference.

Below is my reply to Jay, in which I rescinded our offer of an interview after his odd claims.

Reply 1

He then sent some somewhat contradictory emails in response to my one reply, including some outright lies.

email 2

Dogs for the Disabled changed their name to Dogs for Good, and also still do not provide the type of dog he wanted for adults. A letter from a GP would also mean nothing in regards to whether a dog had gone through hundreds of hours of training with an accredited body.

email 3

This is a contradiction to his previous messages.

email 4

 

 

I replied to the above messages with the following:

Reply 2

Unfortunately he continued to send us further emails with bizarre statements, including photos of his dog sitting in restaurants with captions about how he has “free public access.”

He stopped emailing us, but then moved onto our social media.

 

James Grant Further Harassment 1~

He felt the need to send us more photos of his untrained dog in public places.

James Grant Further Harassment 2~

Here he calls us a “wannabe assistant dog agency” in a reply that doesn’t make sense in relation to the headline above.

James Grant Further Harassment 3~

Here he asks “Why rude to me?” when, not only did we originally offer him a place, we clearly went out of our way not to be rude to a frightening man.

James Grant Further Harassment 4~

Jay has made no claims about having a physical disability up until now, and has claimed no need for dropped items to be picked up by his dog, so even if these are actually tasks that he has taught his dog, this still does not make it an Assistance Dog.

James Grant Further Harassment 5~

A friend of his also came to “Like” the photos he was posting to us.

After this, he was banned from interacting with the IADA Facebook page. Unfortunately, the Facebook functionality of banning is not very effective, and banned users can still go onto a page and share its posts with their own captions.

James Grant Further Harassment 6~

James Grant Further Harassment 7~

Here, Jay shares an irrelevant blog post from us and writes above it that his dog has been accepted onto our training programme. There is absolutely no way that he believes this, after his previous abusive emails and also the statements that he made about having his dog under Dogs for the Disabled.

James Grant Further Harassment 8~

Here he claims not only that his dog was accepted by us, but also that it has already passed the programme! I am not sure what he gains from telling this lie, as the people in his life would surely come to notice that he does not have any of our charity paraphernalia.

James Grant Further Harassment 9~

Again, this is nothing like what his dog does and this is not the kind of training he applied for.

James Grant Further Harassment 10~

Here he says that his dog is more helpful than we could explain, which is bizarre as he has also just said that his dog has passed our programme.

I printed out all of his emails and the screenshots of his activity on our Facebook page, and took them in person to the local police station. They confirmed that he was committing a criminal offence, and officers from Hampshire Constabulary contacted James and told him to leave us alone.

 

We didn’t hear from Jay Grant again until this year, 2018, when he decided to look us up again and start interacting with our page.

Below is a screenshot of the notifications from him on my phone screen.

Screenshot_2018-02-02-10-02-56

Although the notifications still showed on my screen, he changed the privacy of the posts themselves after I had read them, and so unfortunately I didn’t get screenshots of those themselves, but I remember what they say.

The first notification at the bottom, is of him sharing an update we made, about how charity activities had slowed due to me being seriously ill. He implied that because we are an “unofficial page,” me being struck by such debilitating symptoms was funny.

Aside from the fact that a disabled person should know better than to laugh at somebody else’s illness getting worse, we are in fact an official Facebook page, and have a verification tick provided by Facebook that is clear to see.

 

The second notification is from him sharing another of our updates, about how my folding power wheelchair had broken, and so we were unable to visit clients even when we had a volunteer to drive us. Jay wrote that if we were a “legible” charity, we would have received funding for a new one.

This is not true; nobody is going to give a grant to a charity so that one of its trustees can buy a new wheelchair. He had also scrolled back to find an old problem that has since been solved; my fiancé purchased a new folding powerchair for me back in October 2017.
And once again, his claim about our charity is untrue; we are a real registered charity.

 

His next share was of an old update in response to some enquiries we had received, stating that we are unable to help applicants in America or Scotland, as we are only registered to work in England with the Charity Commission. Jay described this as being unhelpful and showing a “complete lack of respect” to our applicants. Not having a certain reach with our work is not disrespect, it is a physical reality.

 

Finally, he shared our poster looking for appropriate pilot applicants in Southampton, as we had been given a grant by Southampton City Council to help people living within the city. He expresses surprise that we are based in Southampton, despite abundant evidence above that he was aware of this back in 2016, and he postulates that this is the reason we “refused him.” As also shown above, we did not initially refuse him.

 

A few days after that, I felt my phone vibrate at 1:58 in the morning while I was in bed. It was another notification that Jay Grant had shared something from our page. I could not see the share itself as he had changed the privacy settings, but he almost certainly knew that we would still receive notifications about his actions, which is his method of reaching us.

There was also an incident at my home address which for now has been left with the police.

 

On the Facebook page for Jay’s “Canine Services” business, we can see some irony in the form of his response to a commenter.

27583710_10155130744541975_1358220805_n

He coherently responds to this comment about how someone is spamming his wall with false claims; this is what he went on to do to us in 2016.

 

In summary, Jay’s claims about IADA are not true. He rejected our offer of an interview for a place on our pilot programme. He told us some demonstrably false claims about another charity. He spread false claims about his dog having passed a training programme that we had not even started. And now he is spreading the story that we refused to help him.

 

We cannot help everybody who applies to IADA, especially if they are determined to be abusive like James.

Charity activities have slowed down because I am extremely ill. That is the reality of having a charity run by and for disabled people. Disability is not in the having of a condition itself, but in the way it affects your life. My illnesses disable me, they stop me getting things done.

No one has ever requested a training visit and been refused one, we would always make the effort to go and help our clients. Before I had my new folding powerchair, I even went to see a client in an old manual chair, and had to be pushed everywhere by my other trustee. We are trying very hard to help people who, like myself and my dog, were beyond the reach of the existing system. We have no private transport and very limited financial resources, but started the charity anyway, because it had to be done.
We cannot do everything for everyone, and some people are very determined to cause difficulty with us. But we are here for the dogs and the disabled people who need us to realise their independence.

Advertisements

Departure of trustee and pilot applicant

IADA are sad to inform our supporters that a trustee, who was also our original pilot applicant, has left the charity. It has come to light that their dog has a disqualifying health condition that prevents them from becoming an Assistance Dog. We have only just become aware of this after not being able to contact the person in question for some time.

We are incredibly sad for the dog in this matter, and are also disappointed to lose a trustee who has been with us since the charity was in early planning stages in around 2014.

We apologise to our supporters for having used this dog in marketing images that led to fundraising, when it now turns out that the dog was not actually suitable for the programme we were raising funds for.

 

As a result of the above, another pilot place will be opened up, but we would like to specifically focus on recruiting an applicant from the city of Southampton, as we are due to receive a grant that can only be spent on beneficiaries living within the city.

The importance of applicant verification

IADA service

 

Like all the other Assistance Dog charities, IADA has a very necessary verification process. When filling out an application form, applicants must list the contact details of at least one medical professional (this is actually a more lenient standard than the other charities), and their veterinarian, if they have an existing dog.

Applicants must also sign and date data protection forms for their doctor(s) and veterinarian and return them with the application.

This is something required for us to do, by the international Assistance Dog bodies. But aside from that, it allows us to get a professional viewpoint of how we can help you, and your veterinarian’s guidance on whether it is in the best interests of your dog’s welfare for them to become an Assistance Dog, in terms of their health, behaviour, and whether you can provide the required care in terms of vaccinations, flea/ tick prevention, and worming, not only for your dog’s welfare but also for the safety of the general public who would encounter your dog while it is working.

 

The verification process also allows us to confirm an applicant’s disability. We have only had our charity number since May, but we’ve already had some fraudulent applicants to the pilot programme. These people at first behave like any other applicants; they list doctors and a vet and describe a disability.

But then when we write to the listed doctor, and often the vet as well, the other party denies all knowledge of the applicant, or says that the patient hasn’t been in for years, or that they are not really disabled in the way they have described. Vets often deny knowledge of the dog or state they have not seen it for years!

We have had people apply for Assistance Dog training for their child, but then not want us to meet the child at interview or to talk to the alleged child’s doctors.

740404_401761493242590_1884708133_o
Obviously, we cannot go ahead with an application unless we are able to verify a disability and the dog’s health.

There was a situation when, after an applicant’s listed doctor did not exist and the surgery denied knowledge of them, we decided to invite them to an interview anyway so that we could discuss it. The applicant reacted very badly to this (despite the fact they were still getting an interview) and began to send a lot of abusive messages to the charity, to the point that we needed to go to the police and have a prevention of harassment letter sent.
It is not the charity’s fault that the doctors they listed, pointed out that they were not a patient.

 

This sort of thing happens heartbreakingly often. As a disabled person in need of an Assistance Dog, and waiting to obtain my dog’s successor, I literally do not leave my house. I need to have somebody with me at all times, I need one of the trustees to meet me at my door and walk me to the location when we have a meeting. I truly have no life to speak of, because of my disabilities.

And so it is very stressful, to see such unscrupulous behaviour from members of the public. People who, for whatever reason, desire to be seen in public with a dog in a shop. People will go to unimaginable lengths for this, and I can’t fathom why. Needing to bring a dog with you everywhere is one of the most incredibly inconvenient positions you could possibly be in.
I knew a woman who actually faked blindness to try and obtain a guide dog. But during the residential training, the staff noticed that she had perfect sight and sent her home. Needless to say, I am no longer an acquaintance of this person.

 

Disability fakers do exist, and they are numerous. So the final, important purpose of the charity’s applicant verification process, is to stop them stealing the charity’s resources.

You can now support us, for free!

Sign up to do your usual online shopping through a site called Give as you Live, and you’ll be raising money for IADA at no cost to yourself! The retailers pay the site a commission for each purchase you make, and that commission is donated to the charity! It doesn’t cost you anything.

Give as you Live also has plenty of exclusive offers and deals. You can Give as you Switch to make a larger donation as you switch insurance or utility provider, and raise money by purchasing gift cards through the site. Christmas giving is not so far away, so now is the perfect time to sign up and start raising free funds for IADA.

2016-branded-facebook-post_76037

You can also use Everyclick to make searches and raise funds.

Everyclick_logo

 

See our “Supporting us and Volunteering” page to find out more or find the right supporting method for you.

tumblr_nsz11cqZvZ1tdcpyxo2_400

ADI candidacy information

We have received information from Assistance Dogs International about becoming candidates. It seems that before we can even apply, we will first need to qualify 3 partnerships from the pilot of our programme, which will take the next 2 – 3 years, approximately.