Veteran's service dog mistakenly denied entry to basketball game

Veteran's service dog denied entry to basketball game
Published: Oct. 28, 2014 at 10:41 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2014 at 11:14 AM EDT
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Columbus State University has learned a valuable lesson that's becoming a widespread issue for soldiers and veterans in America.

The issue of service dogs accompanying not just the blind but people suffering from psychological problems like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is becoming more prevalent.

Combat veteran Allen Grice says he was stopped by a security guard Sunday afternoon as he tried to enter the Lumpkin Center to watch a basketball game with his Chocolate Lab.

"He said, 'Is that a service dog,' I said, yes, 'I'm a combat veteran with PTSD,'" Grice explained. "He said, 'okay.'"

But after Grice sat down, he said a faculty member started questioning him about why he was there with the dog.

"What people don't realize is all wounds aren't visible," stated Grice, who served in the war in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. 

"There was an individual up there yelling saying, 'What's he doing here.' And I sit here and I'm like, 'Hey what do you mean, what am I doing here.' He said 'You're not blind, that can't be your service dog, you don't need one,'"explained Grice. "How this happened to where he wasn't informed and just talk down to me, I am a 25-year-old man and I've never had anyone talk to me like that."

Grice says Piper wasn't wearing the doggie vest with service dog written on it, but by law he's not required to. Grice says he got the dog from an organization in Austin, Texas after completing all the necessary training.

CSU Public Relations Director John Lester admits the university made a mistake.

"This student had already talked with our ADA office and  we've talked to the people involved and we're going to use this a learning experience to make sure others know what kind of disabilities are out there and how they're being handled in today's day and age," Lester said. 

The Dean of the university has also apologized to Grice.

As for the laws, Joy Norman, the Director of Disability Services at CSU, says there are two questions that can be legally asked of service dog owners: What task is it trained to do? Is this animal required because of a disability?

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