When a 9-months pregnant Manhattan woman stepped into an Uber car, she placed her small service dog on her lap. However, once the driver spotted the canine in his vehicle, he immediately got out and reached into the back seat, turning the young woman’s ride into a nightmare.
For any expecting mother, staying calm and stress-free is essential to both the mother and baby’s health. So, any time that 9-months pregnant Mojeh Adams Schaniel, 30, had to travel in the bustling borough of Manhattan, she made sure to keep her service dog, Brooklyn, by her side at all times.
Believing that hiring an Uber driver would be quicker and safer since they go through a rating process, Schaniel scheduled a car to pick her up for the evening at an intersection in Manhattan. Unfortunately, her decision rapidly deteriorated into a living nightmare.
According to the New York Post, Schaniel slid into Mahammad Qayyum’s cab with her service animal and prepared to be chauffered to her destination. However, as soon as the 23-year-old driver noticed her small breed dog, he immediately flew into a rage, storming out of the vehicle to confront her.
Qayyum angrily told Schaniel, “I will not take your dog in my car,” despite Uber policy adhering to state laws requiring such drivers to accommodate service animals. When Schaniel explained to the driver that Brooklyn was indeed a service dog, he only grew more agitated.
Schaniel reported to police that Qayyum walked from the front of the vehicle to the rear passenger door and snatched Brooklyn’s leash from her, yanking the tiny pooch into the air by her collar. He then reportedly slammed the terrier into the concrete much to the owner’s horror.
Terrified by what Qayyum might do next, Schaniel called the police and rushed her little dog to the nearest pet hospital. Brooklyn soon underwent surgery for a dislocated hip and an injury to her right back leg at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners before her owner filed a criminal complaint with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Qayyum was later arrested on charges of aggravated cruelty to an animal and harming a service animal in the second-degree. He was soon released without bail but on the condition that he remains on an order of protection, the Daily Mail reports.
Qayyum disputes the charges against him, claiming that the 9-months-pregnant Schaniel attacked him without cause. He alleges that she punched him in the face multiple times and made “racist, religiously disparaging slurs.” However, he gave no explanation for either the dog’s injuries or his failure to notify the police of such an attack.
Uber confirmed that Qayyum has been suspended pending an investigation into the incident. The company stated that it takes a zero-tolerance stance concerning the mistreatment of animals and will terminate their driver’s account permanently if he is guilty.
Incredibly, Schaniel gave birth to a healthy baby boy just days later and her service dog seems to have recovered from the injuries. Since the incident, she hasn’t spoken with media about the attack or the allegations Qayyum has made against her.