No Service Dog In My Gun Show!
The service dog craze that allows canine friends into trade shows, retail outlets, restaurants, coffee shops and sports stadiums apparently has not reached Indiana.
There is a growing issue of questionable validity as an exorbitant number of pet owners take advantage of the current system (“official” service dog accessories can freely be purchased online) by making false claims regarding the status of their “helpers” in order to receive preferential travel arrangements on airplanes or to simple enjoy companionship in a grocery store aisle.
But, as one gun show owner found out, kicking a military veteran and his service dog onto the street does not bode well in the court of public appeal, or the court of law.
WFIE-TV reports that U.S. Army Sergeant John Williams along with his aptly named service dog Winchester, attempted to set-up a display at the Evansville Tri-State Gun Show Saturday, but were contacted by the owner of the show and told to leave. Allegedly, the owner has an acute allergy to dogs and wanted to prevent any onset of symptoms or illness.
Williams, who is a 21-year military veteran, served almost two decades in Iraq, and earned a Bronze Star, relies on Winchester when basic mobility becomes difficult due to chronic knee issues. The gun show’s owner responded that while the event fully supports patrons who require service dogs, vendors and exhibitors are held to a different set of rules. According to the American’s With Disability Act website, “Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.”
While this dispute is destined for an involved legal battle, the pitiful actions by the gun show’s owner in refusing to accommodate a military veteran in the confines of a National Guard Armory is beyond reproach. Captain obvious has to believe that there is more than enough space in an event featuring 150 tables to provide ample separation between man and dog or vise versa.
Read the full WFIE-TV story here.