Ashley Judd brings (therapy) dog to Kentucky game, sets Twitter trolls ablaze

University of Kentucky fan Ashley Judd brought her dog Shug with her to the Wildcats’ NCAA tournament opener against No. 16 Hampton Thursday night, triggering some predictable yet perplexing backlash against her. (Warning: This post contains explicit language further down.)

Here’s Judd at the game with Shug, a cocker spaniel-poodle mix that Judd has registered as a psychological support dog, who’s being held by a woman sitting beside the actress:

Haters are always going to hate, and here they go ridiculing Judd:

This is pretty much par for the course when it comes to the actress. In fact Judd wrote an piece on Thursday about the online abuse she suffered over her comment about the SEC championship game on Sunday. Judd tweeted that Kentucky’s opponent Arkansas was "playing dirty & can kiss my team’s free throw making a–."

No, not the most savory comment, but the vitriol spewed at her in response was outrageous. She wrote:

On Monday, the day after the tornado of cyberbulling, she said:

Good for her. You want to demean and ridicule people from the comfort of your laptop and mighty throne? Then be prepared for the consequences, which may include getting fired from your job or suspended from school, as happened to Curt Schilling’s online harrassers.

As for Judd’s dog, why does anyone really care? The dog appears to be chilling out, not getting in anyone’s way. Some of the haters (in less vitriolic fashion than on Sunday) are actually ridiculing the concept of an emotional therapy dog in the first place.

It’s a real thing. The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (the FHA), which pertains to housing, recognizes an emotional support animal as "a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability."

It’s common for persons suffering from depression, veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, elderly and others to have an emotional therapy dog.  

There is a real possibility for an all-Wildcats Final Four

The Buzzer reached out to the KFC Yum! Center about the arena’s policy regarding dogs. We have not yet received comment.

But why does anyone care about her dog in the first place? Does it impair anyone’s enjoyment of the game? Offend personal sensibilities?

No, people still view social media as a platform to bully. I’m not advocating censorship, but when free speech turns into hate speech or bullying as it did on Sunday, no longer should the offenders be allowed to remain anonymous and unaccountable.

[H/T Busted Coverage, @tgh3316]