21 Year Veteran with Service Dog Kicked Out of Gun Show
Army veteran Sgt John Williams (Ret) spent 21 years in the Army. During that time, he was deployed on numerous tours of duty in Iraq, where he was the recipient of a Bronze Star with a V for valor. He went to the Tri-State Gun Show (IL, KY, IN) on Saturday to set up a booth so he could sell some guns. Instead, he got kicked out because of Winchester, his service dog.
Apparently, Thomas Allman, the man in charge of the gun show, is allergic to dogs.
“He said I’ll let you get set up, and when I get sick, I’m gonna sue you.” John Williams
According to WFIE, News 14,
Winchester was assigned to Williams by the Soldier Dogs for Independence group. Their president, Michael Barrentine, was called to the gun show once he heard what was going on.
“There’s so much irony, you have a 21 year veteran of the United States armed forces that’s disabled due to his military service that’s getting kicked out of the armory he spent most of his time in, because he was in the armed forces,” Barrentine says.
Williams eventually left the building and stayed outside until the police came. He and his wife say this violated their ADA rights, which apply to those with service dogs.
“It doesn’t apply because he’s not setting up at my gun show because we don’t allow dogs in my gun show,” says Thomas Allman of the Tri-State gun show.
Allman says dogs haven’t been allowed to sit at booths at his shows for the last 20 years
“You want to come in the gun show and sell your guns, or walk around and look and trade guns with your service dog, we have no problem with that, and I can’t stand to be sick and be put in the hospital,” Allman says.
The problem with that statement is that the ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act- specifically states that allergies are NOT considered a reason to deny access or service to Americans.
The ADA has some specifics- and Mr. Allman appears to have violated at least two of them. He has a sign on the front door of the Gun Shown that says “No Pets” – but Service Dogs are not considered pets.
- Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.
- A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
- People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
Sgt Williams has not decided whether or not he will press charges, but that would be a good idea. This kind of things happens across the country, whether from ignorance of the law, or sheer hatred of dogs and veterans.