Banning of Vet’s Service Dog Spurs 100 Comments

NPR Two Way. Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013, it has generated more than 100 comments. Read and please comment if you have had a similar experience or are confused about the law allowing service dogs.
An example of service dogs in training. Photo courtesy: Hill County Disabled Group

An example of service dogs in training. Photo courtesy: Hill County Disabled Group

A 19-year Army veteran was given a summons and told to leave the ocean-side boardwalk in North Wildwood, N.J., Thursday, after a police officer refused to accept the presence of the veteran’s service dog. Jared Goering says it was the first vacation for him and his wife, Sally, in years.

“Before I got my dog, I didn’t want to do nothing,” the veteran tells ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa, Fla., where he lives. “I didn’t want to go with my wife anywhere. I didn’t like crowds. Then I got my dog and eventually I was able to go out and do that stuff.”

Goering, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, left the Army in 2009 after enduring two IED explosions in 36 hours. The effects of those events are still with him, but he says his service dog, a Labrador retriever named Navigator, has helped him adapt.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the dog is allowed to accompany Goering wherever he goes. But it seems the police officer in New Jersey was confused about the law.

After being questioned by the officer, Jared and Sally Goering pointed out the dog’s vest, which is marked with an insignia identifying him as a service dog. But they say the officer stated that the rules on such animals only apply to guide dogs who help the blind.

Arch at the north end of the boardwalk at North Wildwood, NJ. Photo credit:

Arch at the north end of the boardwalk at North Wildwood, NJ. Photo credit:

“He went on to say that, ‘What do they do? Give every vet a dog now?'” Sally Goering says in a report on the news site

The summons issued on the boardwalk has been filed for dismissal, according to a statement by the North Wildwood police department, which says it is investigating the matter. The officer in question will be reprimanded if necessary, the agency said Sunday, in a report by the Cape May County Herald.

“We’ve always proudly supported military veterans,” chief of police Matthew Gallagher tells Florida’s WFTS.

Gallagher also said he and one of his officers had also gotten in touch with the organization America’s Vet Dogs, to discuss how to identify guide dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs.

“I respect cops, I respect what they do. I know they don’t have an easy job,” Goering tells “But my job for 20 years was to defend the country. I got shot at on a daily basis, I’ve been blown up. You know… yeah, it hurts.”

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2 Responses

  1. Some time little need to have new life impulse, on this case a dog has done to a warrior a new force, a new lymph;This is for dogs are the best friends of men;wWe may say the best friends of warriors, they care by PTSD and more other situations. Thanks, dog warriors, for all you done to warriors and for you save their life also by IEDs. claudio alpaca

  2. I have had numerous occasions where I was questioned about my service dog. Most people understand the rights of a service dog but there are some including police officers who have not been oriented to the laws and rights of service dogs. To help in this situation I purchased some cards that spell out the rights of service dogs under ADA laws as well as the Fair housing regulations . If someone challenges my dog I hand them a card and I have had no difficulties since, Don’t argue with them because you are within your rights Just remember, a service dog can lawfully go any where you go including the hospital examination room or in your room if you are confined to a hospital. Anyplace the public can go (Except church) or surgery room a service dog is legally permitted. Good luck a Vietnam Vet.

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