Paws for thought: Havasu veteran says there should be more service animal awareness | Local News Stories

After being turned away from several local businesses he says because of his service dog, a U.S. Army veteran wants more people to be aware of service animals’ rights in public. 

Randy Boyd’s service dog of four years, Lola, helps him complete his day-to-day tasks and ease the symptoms of his PTSD and anxiety. That often means accompanying Boyd out in public. Boyd and his girlfriend Barbara Kennedy say that for the most part businesses are understanding of Lola’s legal right to be with Boyd in public places, but others have denied them entry, asked him about his disability and were sometimes hostile. 

“When you have people not aware of what my service dog does for me, it makes me feel unappreciated because I do have a handicap,” Boyd said. 

Debbie Claseman, Director of the American Service Animal Society said Boyd’s story isn’t that uncommon. Many service animals are turned away from businesses because employees are either unaware of the laws or suspect the animal isn’t a legitimate service animal. 

“It’s is difficult. I myself have a disability and have a service dog,” Claseman said. “It’s a battle we constantly face, especially with veterans. There’s just no easy resolve because people are trying to take their pets everywhere and can buy bogus things online to make them look like service animals.”

It comes down to proper training and awareness about service animals, Claseman said.

“One thing you can do is order cards at sitstay.com that explain the rights of the service dog and the establishment’s rights… You can call the police if you feel you’re being harassed, and the police can come and tell them it’s their right to enter,” Claseman said.

Information provided by the Lake Havasu City Police Department states, “Service animals that are assisting individuals with disabilities are…

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