WEB EXTRA: Women claim priest discriminated against them and blamed his racism on his dog

Local News

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) — Two women claim a Collierville priest discriminated against them and blamed his racism on his dog.

Reverend Jacek Kowal is the priest at Catholic Church of the Incarnation. Employees with church’s cleaning service say a woman being trained to clean the priest’s house was turned away because she was black.

Kowal claims the women were sent away because his dog Ceaser doesn’t like black people, and he feared it would become aggressive towards the woman who is black.

The women aren’t buying the explanation. They are asking the Catholic Diocese of Memphis to discipline the priest for discrimination and to pay them for compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

While the women says it was the priest who is racist and not his dog. Animal expert Brian Bailey of Taming the Wild in Bartlett says the issue is not so black and white, but one thing is clear.

“There are no racist dogs,” said Bailey. “There just aren’t. There are none. They don’t understand that. They don’t have the cognitive recognition to understand the issues that we have as human beings in which we can judge by a color as far as the character of the human. Color for them only allows them to see you better than if you’re whitewashed up against a different type background.”

Bailey says dogs only attack if they sense danger, but they can be trained to overcome fear towards anybody.

“Meaning if you’re afraid of snakes at some point I’d have to introduce a snake into the room. We’d just do it at a distance.”

“If children were in fact the point of concern, they would eventually be brought closer at a comfortable pace,” said Bailey. “If you used to snarl and bite at children. We don’t do that anymore, but we don’t let the children attack them. Soon the animal learns.”   

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