While holding her son on Wednesday, 23-year-old Brooke Macias, a mother of two from Silver City, N.M., suffered an epileptic seizure.
Her 13-month-old dropped to the floor and hit his head on the concrete, and the two spent several hours at their local hospital.
Though the baby was not seriously hurt, Ms. Macias, who suffers from severe epilepsy, said the situation could have been avoided.
None of this would have happened if I had my dog here, she said.
The dog, a German shepherd named Yetti, was trained by South Colton resident Jon C. Sabin to assist people with epilepsy. Ms. Macias bought the dog for $7,500 in January, but legal troubles surrounding Mr. Sabins business, Seizure Alert Dogs for Life, have prevented him from delivering the canine.
She entered into a contract. Its her property, Mr. Sabin said. But if I get on a plane and fly that dog, theyll put me in jail for contempt of court.
If this woman dies because her medical equipment isnt there, who do they charge? he added.
Mr. Sabin faces accusations that he falsely advertised his dogs as capable of detecting trouble minutes before an epileptic seizure occurs. Several customers also accuse him of lying about the level of training their dogs received and their capabilities. In response to the complaints, state Supreme Court Judge David R. Demarest ruled in January that Mr. Sabin must cease doing business until the case is resolved.
Mr. Sabin contends that he did not make such promises.
I never advertised that the dogs can alert to seizure, he said. Theres nothing in our contracts.
Mr. Sabin said the owners who have complained did not handle the high-energy breed correctly.
The contract says the dog needs a certain amount of exercise every day, he said. Theyre taking high-quality working dogs and turning them into pets.
The case has been adjourned until a September conference, according to Mr. Sabins attorney, David P. Antonucci. In the meantime, he said, another of Mr. Sabins legal representatives has been attempting to close the matter.
Were in the midst of settlement negotiations with the attorney general, said Charu Nurang, Mr. Sabins corporate lawyer. We are very close and I think things are going to work out.
Ms. Nurang declined to estimate when a settlement might be reached or disclose what points are complicating negotiations.
Ms. Macias said she was aware of the ongoing legal battle when she purchased her dog.
All I want is my dog, she said. Just because people are having problems doesnt mean I cant get my dog.
Mr. Sabin maintains Yetti is ready for service.
The dog is trained, he said. The New York attorney general will not let the dog go to New Mexico.
Michelle Duffy, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, declined to comment about the case because it is pending.
In the event of a seizure, Mr. Sabin said, the dogs are trained to alert medical authorities, a service he said has saved his life several times as he also suffers from epilepsy.
What happens is this if you bond with the dog and the dog gets nervous, the toy is the phone case, he said. The dog starts picking up on cues, then it bites on a phone case.
If she does receive Yetti, Ms. Macias expects several benefits.
It would make me more independent. It would make me able to stay alone with my children, she said. I would be able to drive places without relying on my family to drive me everywhere. They wouldnt have to worry about me as much as they do.