Jason Young, A 67 year old man in the Ottawa Kansas Ward brought his golden retriever into church on Sunday. When confronted by the bishop, he stated, “If screaming babies are allowed in here, I don’t see why my dog isn’t. She is very well behaved and won’t disturb the meeting at all.”
“He had an excuse for everything reason I gave him. I tried explaining other members may be allergic to his dog. But he stated that they could sit on the other side of the room. I told him the dog may go to the bathroom in the building. He said it was well trained and wouldn’t do that.” Bishop Johnson said.
“I would’ve taken my dog home when the bishop told me to, but my house is an hour away and the meeting was about to start. And the weather is too cold to leave it in the car. My dog was quiet the entire time. Unlike the kids sitting a few rows behind me. So I don’t see the problem.” Jason told us.
Although the dog may have been quiet, it attracted a lot of attention. Especially among children. “I had to take my five year old son out into the hall because he kept running over to pet the dog.” Jane Cook, a 28 year old woman said.
“I get that kids can be distracting during sacrament meeting, but bringing a dog certainly didn’t help!” Lynda Thomas, a 46 year old woman said.
Things escalated when it was time for the sacrament. Jason took a handful of bread and fed it to his dog. Because of this, the priests had to prepare and bless more bread. One brother, who got annoyed by this, told Jason to read 3 Nephi 14:6 which reads “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs…”
“At first I was fine with the dog. His wife had recently passed away so I could understand that he was lonely. But this was going too far!” The man told us.
Once the meeting was over, the bishop met with Jason in his office. According to the bishop, after a half hour of explaining church policy and looking up a few scriptures, the bishop got through to him and Jason promised not to bring his dog in anymore.
“We read the story of Jesus telling the disciples to suffer the children to come unto him. Then I showed him the church handbook which states that animals are not allowed in church buildings. He complained that babies were more distracting than animals. In the end we reached a compromise. I would remind the ward to take out crying children, and he wouldn’t bring his dog back.” The bishop reported.
Unfortunately, an elderly woman who was sick that week heard the story and thought the bishop was allowing pets in church. So she brought her cat into church the next week.