I have no legs and only partial use of my left arm. David is my task trained service animal. When in my wheel chair, he is trained to pick things up for me. More importantly, wheel chairs do not work over grass, grave, stairs and other services. Per federal law, I am disabled and David is a ‘service animal’. For proof of law, I quote the federal government’s website:
- ‘People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.’
- ‘Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.’
- ‘Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.’
What they ask?
‘In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.’
Question 1: ‘is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?’
Answer: Yes and it is obvious. See stumps at left.
Question 2: ‘what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?‘
Answer: Among other things, he is trained to help me walk.
Further, if he were not task trained, the state of OH extends the ADA to include ‘service dogs in training’.
I am living in a VA funded shelter. It is operated by an Ohio agency called PICCA. Employees of both PICCA and the VA have demanded letters from doctors and David be registered as a service animal. Per law, they are not allowed to ask. A resident’s pet dog is allowed to live here. So called emotional support animals have been allowed to live here. But not my task trained service dog.
Someone at the shelter told me to use one of those scam esa websites. I registered David. I registered myself. I registered my rubber chicken.
I was rented a home for my dog and I. My lease was signed. I had moved in. The VA had a meeting and decided because the doors were too narrow, it was not a good fit. I protested that with my service animal, I just walk on my knees. They voided my lease without my input or consent. . I was removed from my home the day before I was be reunited with my dog. In short, they took my home for lack of legs.
When I argued the action was wildly illegal, I was threatened with being removed from the VA program in which I was enrolled. I feel that was financial extortion. I was then told I was no longer eligible for that program for 2 years.
My Opinion on Violations of law:
- Simple contract law. I had a signed lease. A third party can not simply cancel it.
- SSVF housing is a right that came from my service. By canceling my lease, my SSVF was cancelled as it can only be used once every two years.
- Employees of PICCA, Ohio and the VA insist I provide proof David is registered as a service animal, but there is no registration process & they are not allowed to ask per federal law.
- PICCA / Ohio employees insist on a prescription for my service animal. No such prescription exists and they are not allowed to ask.
- PICCA insists I have a letter from VA psych services. My disability is self evident, it is not psychological and they are not allowed to ask.
Ohio, PICCA, and the VA seem to be confusing a ‘task trained service animals’ with so called ’emotional support animal’, which I have realized David is also. Being without him means I am stick in my wheel chair. I can not climb steps or leave smooth surfaces. David is trained to steady me as I walk on my knees. Crutches do not work on grass and my left arm does not work well enough for crutches anymore.
This is not just housing discrimination. By keeping me from my dog, I can not enter the market down the street. They have steps. I can not enjoy parks. They have grass.
Per my VA doctor, that lump on my left elbow is now pressing on the nerve in my left hand. She believes it if from crawling. I crawl, for lack of my service dog. To understand where I am at now, put a chair in your bathroom. Using no legs and one hand, transfer to the toilet and back. Then try getting in and out of the tub with that one arm.
I understand they are acting out of ignorance rather than malice. Those scam esa sites have caused tremendous confusion. So much that a US veteran with an honorable discharge is denied civil rights by the VA, the state of OH, Pickaway County Community Action Agency (PICCA), and Lutheran Social services. These agencies have failed to train their employees as to the ADA and HUD laws pertaining to service animals.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, HUD, and state laws define the disabled as a minority. What would happen if my home had been taken away for my being Irish or black? I will not be silent. The moment I find a lawyer, I will become litigious. I will never surrender this fight. I will be made whole or I will be making waves.
My pen name is A.J.Drew. You will need my legal name to protest. My legal name is Andrew Schlomann. Please let your opinion be heard.