From the category archives:

Service Animal

Disabled Houston veteran booted from restaurant over service dog

by Sue on March 6, 2014

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Published February 27, 2014 FoxNews.com

A disabled U.S. veteran says he was booted from a Thai restaurant in Houston because his service dog was not allowed to join him in the establishment.

Aryeh Ohayon, who served in the Army and Navy for a combined 23 years and suffers PTSD, said his service dog Bandit helps when he has flashbacks or becomes depressed, the KHOU 11 reported. But he claims that the restaurant would not allow him to stay with the dog.

The report points out that Texas passed a law that protects veterans with service dogs from being refused entry into public places. Ohayon says he was told the restaurant is considered a private entity and does not have to abide by the law.

Thai Spice Buffett II, the restaurant, said it is looking into the incident, the station reported. The manager told the station that he believes the entire incident was a misunderstanding.

Ohayon said he was also bothered by a police officer who responded to the call. The officer asked why he needed to have the dog in the first place since he isn’t blind. Police, however, say Ohayon denied any disabilities during the conversation.

“It feels like your service and experience that you’ve done to defend and uphold the Constitution and protect this country have been belittled,” Ohayon said.

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: The Cop was totally out of line. And the Thai place IS open to the public. Therefore the “private” statement does not fly.

{ 8 comments }

Paralyzed service dog recuperating in Homer Glen

by Sue on January 15, 2014

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org
By Taylor W. Anderson, Tribune reporterJanuary 15, 2014

Vietnam veteran Gary Jordan is missing one of his most important troops: she’s a 3-year-old Chihuahua mix named Belle who’s trained to help him deal with his severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 69-year-old is coping while Belle — a service dog trained through a Chicago non-profit that since 2010 has paired dogs with vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related brain injuries — rehabilitates from a spine injury that paralyzed her on Thanksgiving Day.

“How am I doing without her? Not well,” Jordan said. “Because she’s my service dog, and we’ve been with each other since February.”

Jordan has been driving several times a week from his apartment in Markham to Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen to see Belle, who is learning to use her back legs again at the clinic after surgery. Typically, the two spend every moment of every day together.

Jordan and Belle are a team put together by War Dogs Making It Home, a charity that rescues dogs from animal shelters and matches them with veterans who need help.

“We save two lives at a time: one dog and one veteran,” said Eva Braverman, the agency’s president.

The dogs are trained to sense when its owner is stressed and comfort them.

Braverman said Jordan called her on Thanksgiving when she was cooking dinner for her family to tell her Belle wasn’t well. One of the dog’s spinal discs was extruding, and she became paralyzed. “I literally put $4,000 on two different credit cards to pay for the surgery,” she said.

Jordan is one of about 25 teams in the War Dogs program, where veterans bring their companions for training twice weekly for the first year and once a week the second. Veterans in the program have served in almost every major foreign combat since Vietnam, Braverman said. She said about half of the owners are Vietnam veterans.

The dogs learn the behavior of their veterans, moving into action when vets show signs of anger or stress. “I have to tell her, ‘Belle, I’m all right,’” Jordan said. “If it doesn’t look like it to her, she’ll just stay there (in my arms). She don’t leave.”

Dr. Amber Ihrke works at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen, where Belle has been resting after her surgery. The site, which opened in 2013, is the third in the group, which also has locations in Chicago and Hanover Park.

“In three weeks, she’s gone from essentially paralyzed to walking around the room,” Ihrke said as Belle tried to stand on her hind legs in an IPC room in Homer Glen.

Jordan chokes back tears while getting ready to see Belle again. Doctors say they want Belle to get back to Jordan’s home so the two can help each other, but she still has a ways to go before being able to jump into Jordan’s arms.

“She helps me stay calm where I can actually deal with people better,” Jordan said. “It just helps me be more grounded.”

Integrative Pet Care is hosting an open house Feb. 8 to showcase the new partnership with War Dogs.

twanderson@tribune.com | Twitter: @TaylorWAnderson

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: I know EXACTLY what this guy is going through. My Service Dog “Gunny” went through one neck surgery and three back surgeries in the course of six months. ( He is OK now.) I could not see him every day because his surgery took place 175 miles northwest of me. But I called or got reports daily from them. He was only gone a couple of weeks each time,  but the time apart was excruciating.

{ 3 comments }

Couple booted from bar after dispute over service dog

by Sue on December 13, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

PANAMA CITY BEACH — A woman and her husband were booted from a Halloween party after a dispute with the management over whether her service dog could be inside, according to a police report.

Bennie and Mary Gray were attending a Halloween costume party at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge at Pier Park. Police were called there about 9 p.m., according to the report, after a bouncer told the couple they weren’t allowed to have the dog inside the bar. Bennie Gray, 56, explained to the bouncer it was a service dog, and the bouncer asked to see the dog’s papers.

Bennie Gray told the bouncer the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not allow such paperwork to be requested, and the bouncer told them to leave, according to the report.

The manager of Tootsie’s, Melissia Pennington, intervened at some point during the dispute, according to the report. She told officers she spoke to the Grays and told them the dog could stay. But she also alleged Bennie Gray became very aggressive toward her during the dispute, and she ultimately decided to tell the couple to leave.

In a brief phone interview, Bennie Gray said his wife has multiple sclerosis and that her service dog, which she has had for eight years, alerts her to oncoming seizures. Mary Gray, 36, spent days making a Halloween costume for the dog, he said. They also were celebrating Bennie Gray’s birthday at the party.

“She cried all night long,” Bennie Gray said this week. “They ruined her night.”

Bennie Gray said the dog was wearing service badges during the incident and that he asked a Tootsie’s bouncer to look up ADA on a computer, but the bouncer refused. Bennie Gray said he has reported the incident to the U.S. Department of Justice.

 

Pennington said the Grays were kicked out because they were “unruly and difficult patrons.” She said the couple was getting in the face of security staffers during the dispute.

“The people were not kicked out, obviously, because they have a service dog. We wait on people all the time with service dogs,” she said.

Pennington said a security staffer did try to verify the dog was a service animal, but she wouldn’t say how.

According to the ADA, businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal and what tasks it has been trained to perform. However, businesses may not require special identification for the animal or ask about the person’s disability. If an animal has been trained to assist a person with a disability, the ADS says it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by state or local government.

Violators of the ADA may be required to pay monetary damages and penalties.

Bennie Gray said he and his wife have lived in the Panama City area for 12 years, and that Tootsie’s allowed the service dog inside on previous visits to the bar.

 

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: This situation is the reason I never get in anyone’s face if they deny my Service Dog. I just call the Cops. That way they can never use the excuse that I was being confrontational. Most business do not like to have the Cops show up.

{ 1 comment }

Pets posing as service dogs make life tough for people who really need animals’ help

by Sue on December 11, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

From the time they’re puppies, service dogs are rigorously trained to help those who need them most. They can get into places where no pets are allowed.

The dogs are identified by the vest they wear. But since it’s not illegal to buy these vets, it’s easy for anyone to go online and obtain a vest for their animal.

Susan Lee Vick, director of Canine Companions for Independence, demonstrated how easy it is to obtain one. “There’s a real faux official quality to this, you know?” she said, showing a photo of a tiny dog wearing a service vest. “This is Bambi; Bambi’s new service dog vest!”

She said it never occurred to advocates for the disabled that the vests would be misused.

“There was never any vision of this outcome, this just sort of explosion of the ‘have a vest, wear a vest, go anywhere you want with your pet,’ no one saw that,” Vick said.

Peter Morgan has a spinal disorder that makes it nearly impossible for him to bend. He teaches kids with special needs, with his service dog Echuka constantly at the ready. His disability isn’t very obvious to strangers. Morgan says no one had ever doubted his need for a service dog — until recently.

“The last two years, it’s become very prevalent. The questioning, the looks. It’s been a radical shift,” he said.

And now he sees fake service dogs in places where pets aren’t normally allowed. At a recent dinner out, Morgan said, there was another dog in the restaurant.

“Even to the casual observer you could tell it was not a service dog,” Morgan said. “It had a vest. It was eating off the floor, licking people, lunging at people.”

Then, Morgan said, the dog’s owner pulled him aside.

“And he started saying, ‘It’s really neat that we can bring these dogs in here and get away with it because, you know, my dog’s not a service dog and neither is yours.’ And I just turned to him and I said, ‘You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing,’ ” Morgan said.

There’s a growing call to penalize people who try to pass off their pets as service dogs. But few agree on how it should be enforced.

Advocates for the disabled say the problem may just be ignorance.

“They don’t realize the harm that they are doing,” Vick said of the impostors. “Bringing your pet dog out into a public place harms that person with a disability’s right to live a free and independent life.”

Morgan says he’s been kicked out of restaurants when other dogs act up because people suspect his service dog is a fake.

“The people that are actually doing this should really take a long deep breath and think about how they’re affecting less abled people than themselves,” he said.

That, he said, would provide the most valuable service.

 

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: How can they enforce it? For the ADA/DOJ to allow companies like ourselves to ask for a Doctor’s note before we sell them a product. Until that happens, our hands are tied.

{ 18 comments }

Family sues to get son’s service dog in school

by Sue on October 24, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

There is a video with this one so I am posting the link here.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Family-sues-to-get-sons-service-dog-in-school-118057864.html

Sussie and Crew

{ 1 comment }

Colorado veteran fights service dog’s death sentence

by Sue on February 28, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Colorado veteran fights service dog’s death sentence

Published February 28, 2013

Associated Press

MONTROSE, Colo. – A Montrose veteran is challenging a judge’s decision to euthanize his service dog for repeatedly biting a woman.
The Montrose Daily Press reported Wednesday that Jeremiah Aguilar has filed an appeal.

He was ordered to turn the dog, Dutch, over to animal control officials on Feb. 14 but never did. Aguilar maintains that his dog was provoked but the woman denies that.

She says she broke up a fight between Dutch and her dog and that Dutch attacked her once she took him home to clean him up. She raised Dutch before giving him to Aguilar.

Aguilar has been ordered to appear in court in April to show why he shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for not turning the dog over.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/28/colorado-veteran-fights-service-dog-death-sentence/#ixzz2MDUPh8US

Note from Sussie: I only have one thing to say about this. If you are stupid enough to put your hand in a dog fight, you deserve to get bit!

Sussie and the Friendly Five.
Gunny, Rainy, Lucy, Squeaky, Trina and Hildee.

{ 11 comments }

Shelter dogs to service dogs

by Sue on December 27, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Dogs give their partners independence

Updated: Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 11:03 PM CST
Published : Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 7:24 PM CST

Leslie Rhode

Dripping Springs (KXAN) – Out in the rolling hills of Dripping Springs west of Austin, there is a new beginning happening at the Texas Hearing and Service Dogs organization. Dogs that once were in animal shelters across the state are getting a fresh start. Each year the group trains service and hearing dogs to be paired up with people who need them for independence. The class of 2013 is the group’s largest class to date in its nearly twenty-five year history. Fifteen dogs do not spend much time in kennels, but in training to ultimately change lives.

A service dog helps a person with everyday tasks to provide a greater sense of independence and dignity. The dog may help a person in a wheel chair pick up something that was dropped, open a door or fetch a bottle of water from the refrigerator. The Texas Hearing and Service Dogs group professionally trains the dogs and matches them up with their human friends, offering the dog and the training free of charge. The group relies on donations to make the partnerships happen.

“Animals are the kind of technology that you can hug, and I think there’s a lot of value in that,” said Sheri Soltes the Founder and President of Texas Hearing and Service Dogs.”

All of the dogs are hand picked by the trainers from shelters. To get the class of 2013 together, trainers went to 21 different shelters across the state and looked at more than 4,000 dogs to find the 15 dogs.

“The goal is to find a dog that is pretty gregarious, laid back and relaxed,” said Director of Training Al Kordowski. “The thing that’s going to distinguish them is their energy level, their attentiveness to us and being able to be calm. On the other hand with a hearing dog, we want them to be a little more extroverted and quite aware of everything in their environment.”

Director of Training Al Kordowski and others have that knack of finding shelter dogs with the perfect qualities to be service dogs. Watson is a black lab-mastiff mix from Williamson County who was sick in the shelter when they found him and still has a bullet in his front leg. Mocha is also a mixed breed who is naturally so alert to sounds, she will likely work with a hearing impaired person.

“There’s a place for all of these dogs,” said Kordowski. “There’s a home for all these dogs. You can find a place for these dogs looking for homes. We can go and we can save these dogs.”

“We invest $20,000 in a year into training each dog,” said Sheri Soltes, the Founder and President of Texas Hearing and Service Dogs. “We custom train it for its disabled partner, and we give the dog away to the person free of charge. So donations are what sponsor all of the training and things you’re seeing here — making these miracles happen.”

The miracles Soltes is referring to happen with each new class of service dogs. It is a miracle opening a new world for a person in need and a once unwanted dog.

{ 0 comments }

Access to Public Places for Service and Assistance Dogs under the ADA

by Sue on September 5, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

This is an EXCELLENT video that I think everyone should watch. However it does need to be updated a bit (being created in 2010) because as of March 15, 2011 only dogs and miniature horses can be Service Animals.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky.

{ 9 comments }

WaWa Inc. to Pay $12,500 in Service-Dog Case

by Sue on August 22, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

WaWa Inc. has paid Patrick Stark, a New Jersey glassworks artist, $12,500 to settle a claim that Stark was wrongfully turned away when he entered the convenience store with his service dog.

Stark, 33, said he went into a Millville, N.J., WaWa to buy a sandwich on June 13 but was told he had to leave Copenhagen, his Queensland heeler that wears special tags, outside. But the dog is a necessity. Three years ago, Stark, an Army veteran, was mugged and has experienced occasional seizures ever since. Copenhagen helps him get around.

Stark claimed he explained that the dog was legally permitted to remain, but a store manager told him to leave. This was the fifth time since April 2011 that Stark said he’d a problem getting served at WaWa. After each incident, he said he’d written a letter to corporate headquarters, but heard nothing.

Stark subsequently filed a complaint with the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office Division on Civil Rights.

WaWa has agreed, in addition to the $12,500 payment, to post signs in its New Jersey stores advising customers that service dogs were welcome. It has also agreed to train its New Jersey employees about laws pertaining to service animals, as well as the company policy welcoming them.

The convenience store chain has also agreed to “seriously consider” making a charitable contribution to an organization devoted to providing service animals to individuals with disabilities, according to the complaint filed with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

” Since the incident we have been revisiting associate training and understanding around service animals in all of our stores throughout our five state area and we will continue to make this a priority,” said a WaWa spokesperson. “We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure everyone in all of the communities we serve feels welcomed, respected and included.”

The convenience store chain did not admit any wrongdoing in the Stark case.

“This is an important resolution of this matter,” said Division Director Craig T. Sashihara in a statement. “The allegations in this case were troubling. However, we credit WaWa for its responsiveness, and for being ready to educate store employees about the rights of people who employ service animals.”

Note from me:

This individual actually contacted me right after this incident. I told him what they did was illegal. I am glad he won. The only disturbing thing I find is that the company still admits they did nothing wrong. What is the point of suing someone if they are not going to learn from their mistakes?

Sussie and the Friendly Foursome
Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky

{ 18 comments }

Goodwill Discrimnates against Service Animals.

by Sue on June 13, 2012

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Service Dog Owner Claims Discrimination
By Megan Brantley
POSTED: 5:48 am EDT June 12, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — A Johnson City woman claims that she was discriminated against for bringing her service dog inside a store.

According to the Americans with Disability Act, state and local governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations that serve the public must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.

One woman she was not allowed to do so when she was shopping at the Goodwill. Rose Holowka is dealing with a disability. “I was in a car wreck back in 1992 which caused seizures that developed into epilepsy and have partial complex seizures,” she explained.

Her service dog Honey makes things a little easier, but we learned that the law makes it a little harder. “About a month ago my husband and I went to the Goodwill, and we were approached by their supervisor. We were told that we had to leave or show certification or documentation for the dog,” said Holowka.

Unlike being blind, Holowka doesn’t have a visible disability and she says that makes it harder to convince people.

Federal law does not require folks to show proof an animal is a service dog. State representative Jon Lundberg says places are not allowed to ask. “You can’t ask to see that,” says Lundberg, “This is not like ‘let’s see you driver’s license, let’s see your dog credentials.’ It doesn’t work that way, it wasn’t designed to work that way.”

Although it wasn’t designed that way, it’s put places like Goodwill in a very tough position. With the animals not being required by law to wear a vest or dog tag, it makes it hard to tell which dog is a service dog and which isn’t.

We spoke with a representative from Goodwill who said that with the right paperwork they’d be happy to allow them in, but until then, their policy says no pets allowed.

NOTE FROM ME: They need to read the rules. They are, by law, not allowed to asked to see written proof. The only thing they are allowed to ask is “Is that a service dog?” and “What does that service dog do for you?”

On a personal note: I go in Goodwills all the time and never have an issue. Maybe Oregon is different. I don’t know.

Sussie and the Fearsome Foursome.

{ 24 comments }