Disabled veteran responds to recent letter to Easthampton mayor - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Disabled veteran responds to recent letter to Easthampton mayor

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EASTHAMPTON, MA (WSHM) -

"[I am] going to put a complaint in with the justice department for the Americans with Disabilities Act," said disabled veteran Gary Houle, who is continuing to move forward in his dispute with the Pulaski Club.

Houle told CBS 3 that he was thrown out of the club on Thanksgiving night.

According to Houle, he was told his service dog, Princess, was not properly identified, even though he produced proper identification.

In a letter dated Dec. 26, a spokesperson for the club, Mike Albano, addressed the issues with Easthampton's mayor.

In the letter, Albano, who is currently the governor's councilor for the eighth district and former mayor of Springfield, said Houle's dog is registered as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), which has different regulations.

Houle said that while Princess does help with his post traumatic stress disorder, she is a certified service dog.

"The certification that they should recognize is the animal certification patch, which is for service animal registry," said Houle, as he pointed to the patch on Princess' vest.

Houle then produced the documentation and identification card supporting his claims, stating Princess became certified as of Nov. 1 of this year.

Houle said it took more than six months, partially with another trainer, to get Princess ready.

"Now if I was blind, obviously, you would have to spend thousands of dollars and have someone train it," Houle stated. "But for hearing alert, for my traumatic brain injury, nerve damage and hearing loss, she's right there on spot with that."

CBS 3 reached out to Albano for an interview, but he was unavailable on Saturday.

As Albano noted in the letter, ESA animals are allowed on airplanes and qualify for no-pet housing, but they are not considered a working service dog under the Americans with  Disabilities Act.

Houle believes his documentation proves Princess is a service dog.

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