OEF/OIF Veteran kicked off boardwalk because of service dog

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OEF/OIF Veteran kicked off boardwalk because of service dog

I'm rather tempted to skip this story if only because I don't want to be accused of bashing law enforcement.  But I think here the police department did the right thing, it appears that only one specific police officer was wrong. 

But first I want to back up to an article that appeared last week that might mitigate what the police officer did here.  This article is from the Sun Sentinal in Florida:

Owners and trainers of service dogs are increasingly angry at pet owners who pass their animals off as service dogs by using phony credentials.

The imposters go to the Internet to buy vests, ID cards and certificates for their dogs. The deception allows their pets to live in restricted housing, accompany them inside restaurants and hotels or fly for free in airplane cabins rather than in cargo holds.

"I don't want to say it's a scam, but it is a scam," said Nick Kutsukos, 72, who runs Elite K9 Academy in Jupiter and has trained service dogs for 40 years.

People who fake a disability and/or pretend their pet is a service animal risk at least a fine or, in extreme cases, federal fraud charges.

Getting certification is as easy as filling out a form online, sending in your money and perhaps a photograph of your dog.

So apparently this is happening, or at least the officer might have believed it was.  So flash forward to this weekend, when a police officer in New Jersey told a OEF/OIF veteran he couldn't be on the boardwalk with his service dog:NBC40.net

The police immediately dismissed the charges, and it looks like this vet will be getting an apology from the city, but it still strikes me as somewhat absurd. It's entirely possible I guess that the police officer thought it was a scam or something, but even so, wouldn't you want to be safe rather than sorry? I don't know, whole story seems odd to me. Let the guy have his dog, he's earned that much. And if going to the Boardwalk brings him peace, hasn't he earned it?


MORE INFO CLICK HERE, from Daily Mail.  They have more info that I can not share because of copyright law.  So go read there if you have more specific questions.


Posted in the burner | 33 comments
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seems this country loves when someone else will go to war and fight for freedom for them but when they get home it's go away and shut up, remember all you lame brains what goes around comes right back around...

Just another wannabe with a badge.

A wannabe what exactly? Do you know for a fact this officer is not a Vet themselves? Do you know the totality of the circumstances surrounding this whole issue or just what you have read here on this page? until you can make intelligent, informed comments about this issue as opposed to inane ones like you demonstrated above, kindly shut your pie hole.

I will not condemn the Police with so many PEOPLE Scamming just about everything.

Is it possible the vet had an ID card he could have shown? Rest of the story, please.

hire previous veterans for police jobs,two birds one stone

My, oh my. Crocodile tears from the American Legion.

They're concerned about a vet getting kicked off the boardwalk but they ban USS Liberty survivors from attending their National Conventions.

If you don't believe me, ask Phil Onderdonk.

I happen to be a veteran and a police officer with 30+ years of combined service. I don't want to get on a soapbox here, but those who work in public safety in our country are the warriors who strive to keep the homeland safe from within while our country's noble veterans of the armed forces did the same while on foreign shores. The police are not immune from mistakes, and believe me some examples make me shake my head, but let's give credit where credit is due, have some mutual respect, and stop bashing the folks that may someday save your life. Enough said.

On the service dog question, I can tell you from having done research on litigation related to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that this is not an area where things are written in black and white. In fact there are times when the rules that apply to service dogs and other ADA related matters can be both confusing and constantly changing. The officer here made mistakes and violated a number of the law’s provisions. According to the ADA you are in violation to even inquire about the status of a person's disability. Once our veteran announced the dog was a service dog (which in many states does not require any special certification, vest, permit, etc.), that should have been the end of the officer's questioning. He goofed, and continued in that wrong direction when he issued the Vet a summons. However, by all accounts his agency immediately stepped in and made the situation right. Here again, give credit where credit is due.

Thank you for providing balance.

Thank you for an intelligent and reasoned, level-headed comment.

Wow and I hate to say I was from NJ this is the second news issue that has come out of Jersey involving Vets Public apology is not enough I think Gov. Christy should get involved in this one. That just wasn't called for. I know police officers are a vary tight Org. and they stick together. My step son was a police officer in Jersey and member of the PBA But when you get out of line its time to pay the piper and own up. Some day you might be in the same position this Vet was in remember the what if's could turn into reality in a blink of an eye. Think before you react to situations like this common sense is the best virtue and if he was trying to make a name for himself well he just became a laughing stock for the police Department and the Town of North Wildwood.NJ.

I am also a U.S. Vet and I find this appauling. I fight our government everyday because they have lost their common sense in all matters. Just take a good look at our politicians, local and national and you will see what I mean. They won't condem Felony Criminals. They won't put murders to death. They spend our money like it belongs to them and talk about common sense, well you get the point. This officer, with all due respect, should have checked into this Veteran's status deeper, used his common sense and this all would be a wash. Everyone has an interpretation of any law but most of the time common sense will prevail. I retired from the Military because they lost all their common sense cause if it wasn't in the book you were wrong. Enough said.

I would suggest this officer be given some sensitivity training to remedy his problem but, in this particular case (this this case only) there is no remedy for STUPID

As a disabled vet. i sympathize..,but.. as a pilot, driver, concealed carry pistol permit holder, i carry the necessary legal documents to prove my rights if the question arises.The officer was doing his job and who knows if it was a scam.If you want to park in a disabled parking spot,you have to show a permit right??. Are special privileges any different for service dogs???/// If you claim your dog is one ,you have paperwork.Claim the privilege .but be ready to prove it if necessary...SOME PEOPLE just outright lie about these things to get the benefits duhhhh .Only way the cop to know is to ask for a permit..The phonies makes it tough on the honest people.Never been hassled more than a document check,but countless people drive , and park in handicap spots with no right to do so..Bet a lot claim their dogs are service dogs too.

Much of this story seems to be missing. We VFWs who are now civilians have to give respect to Law Enforcement questioning and Laws/Rules/Regulations just like every other American. Like I said, much is missing. I would suspect either an inappropriate and overbearing (unnecessarily authoritative) posture was presented by the Officer formerly in question, which obviously would have been construed in some manner as provocative to the Veteran, or a negative attitude was displayed (also without being necessary) by the Veteran. I don't know, but that would be my guess. This is a normal, everyday facet of Community Code Regs being tended to and/or enforced by local Police, and whether or not a Veteran is involved is actually beside the point (IMHO). My utmost respect and Thanks to this Gentleman, a Fellow Veteran Comrade-in-Arms, and I know that he benefits as much from his Service Animal (Canine) as much as I do mine for PTSD issues.

I forgot to add that, as soon as valid Service Animal/Canine credentials were established (and only by Law Enforcement Personnel), the matter should have been considered closed and the Veteran allowed to go on his way, with his Service Animal. If someone complained about the actions of the Animal, that is a different matter.

You see this more and more in our society. Flash back to VN vets being abused and spit on. Some even denied jobs if they were a vet. Sorry, call me old fashioned but the draft put everyone in the same boat and you appreciated what a GI went thru Peace Time or War Time.. Thats gone now and so is the respect for those who serve. Its sad. Our leader does nothing to make it better with Homeland Defense watching veterans as possible terrorist.

Believe me you can tell the difference for a service dog and a fake service dog. I have seen people try to pass a little that they carry in there purse as a service dog. Service dogs walk on there own 4 paws.

Did you ever go to Disney world and watch the people push each other around on wheel chairs just do they can get in front of the lines. Real sad.
I guess if we can just say we have a service dog then everything is okay. Let someone else clean up the crap. Disabled should have some sort of ID to show they need a service animal.

Officers are behaving much too aggressivly. If they're that afraid... they should find something else to do. I'm not sure what they think their job is but it is not to make everyone walk in a straight line.

When I read about this incident in our South Jersey newspaper I was reminded of an on line campaign to place yellow ribbons on the leashes of serfvice dogs as an indication that this is nhot just a pet but a working animal. Police and other "public servants" would not need to ask for proof.

Kudos to American Legion in reporting this issue. Hopefully the U.S. Department of Justice will read this and turn the case over to the U.S. Attorney Office in New Jersey for prosecution to those who discriminated against our National VETERAN for having his working dog on the Boardwalk. The U.S. DOJ should refer to Title 18 Untied States Code (U.S.C.) Section 249 that incorporates many diverse individuals and populations under the criminal statutes! My heart feels for the VET as I am a Transgender Male in Michigan and have experienced Public Corruption, Domestic Violence and Hate Speech and Threats from IGNORANT PEOPLE OF THE CRIMINAL STATUES OR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GENDER and sex!! THE FBI and U.S. DOJ NEED TO GET OUT THERE MORE AND PROSECUTE THESE HATE PEOPLE! It will also bring in more fine-revenue into the government agencies and the courts!
J. Mario Pellegrino

Commander Harry, Good show Sir!!

I wish that some of the people who respond to these articles use some common sense, and some sense that God gave them before they open there mouths. William Hoover Sir! I agree 100% on what you said about the one comment about "There Frigging Place", granted to serve and protect US and uphold the laws of the land. Which we must also follow the officer involved should have had more knowldege about service dogs etc, before issueing a ticket this would not have happened in the first place. Also you hit it when you stated that the majority of police officers are from the military how else would they have gotten the job. They come out some what physically fit, alert, discplined and mentally fit as well they just need the the police training. So the other gentlemen rally didn't know what he was saying, because he was useing his personnal anger about the whole deal. And who know he may have had some contact with police and was just venting his frustation.

There is no such thing as Service Dog Certification The ADA is very clear on that. The Law is enforced by the US Justice Dept. There are organizations and schools that belong to ADI which gives a public access test by a trained instructor. The certification is that the dog has meet the school requirements for their certification. This is not necessary for the disabled to use the services of a self trained dog to assist them with every day life functions. There are very few schools that have the expertise for the deaf/hearing impaired the wait list is approx. 2 years and very few are able to get a signal dog. How many Hearing and Blind trained service dogs has EliteK9 Academy trained and placed over that 40 year period.

I may loose my legs, with out this surgery, It's way past time some doctors quit playing with peoples lives, I need a very good Lawer to help me.

I would love it if from this point on only the people that can 100% say that they never made a mistake at their job can post! Only you that will swear on a Bible that you never made a mistake on any of your jobs!! And this will be my last post because I have made lots of mistakes on jobs, but they didn't get put in the news!

Mistakes where made,apologiys given,time to move on !!

Apologys or not, The Young police should have more discreet sence and know a Veteran who is NOW disabled got the wounds from fighting for HIS and OUR freedom...As a 100% Disabled VIET NAM Veteran I have been Chalanged several times about my Tag (Dis Amer Vet DAV) ) Injuries are not always visible to other peoples eyes, They (others) do not feel and live with the pain I do and the Disability has to be Fought for even when we return from a Combat Tour..I also know about this matter..

I am sure North Wildwood would like this story to go away. The issued apology is weak, go to their website. Checkout their officious statement about how they have several veterans on the department. Check the Mayor's website, he is a former North Wildwood Police Officer. Look at the Police Department Mission Statement, they either need to change it or teach it to officers on the street. What the officer did that day reflects the attitude of the Mayor and Police Chief. Wouldn't a real apology invite veterans and their service animals to a day boardwalk for a free drink, hot dog and chips. Just saying we are sorry and we like vets ,matter of fact ,we have a vet on the department is really, really weak

There isn't enough information in this article for anyone to make the kind of negative comments I am reading here. There is obviously a ordinance against dogs (pets) on the boardwalk. If so, the policeman was doing his job by checking. If the veteran couldn't show the officer proof of a service dog, then the officer did his job at that point in time. If later the Vet showed authorities his proof then he got his apology. Nothing in the article about anyone's attitude (Policeman or Vet). All these if's should have been answered in this article, but they were not. A poorly written article is not justification to bad mouth a police officer. Give him a brake - at least go read the entire article first.

The Chief is over due with his apology.
He is just appearing to put a spin on this failure by his department.
The chief needs to step up and take responsibility, and remove all apearances as good old boy garbage,
Step up Chief, your rookie like officer was dead wrong.. Case closed,pal.

Im a disabled veteran and i have seen many vets with service animals as well as civilians. The simple fact here is that the officer made a mistake both with his actions and apparently his attitude. It appears that as soon as he realized it he took actions to correct it and apologize. His chain of command also stepped in, admitted his mistake and apologized. There also seems to be a lack of education on the ADA in the NJ police department and they have also recognized that and are taking steps to improve it.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.