U.S. Army Sergeant John Williams served for almost two decades in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star with Valor, but his time in the armed forces left him with joint problems in his knees. His service dog, Winchester, helps him get around and accompanied him when he wanted to set up a booth at the Tri-State Gun Show. That’s when the man who was in charge of the show, Thomas Allman, said Winchester the dog wasn’t allowed to enter.
Winchester was provided to Sergeant Williams by Soldier Dogs for Independence, a non-profit group that provides veterans who have physical or mental injuries with service dogs. He is a trained service dog, but that didn’t stop Allman asking Williams to leave, claiming that the dog would make him sick.
Michael Barrentine, president of Soldier Dogs for Independence, said, “There’s so much irony, you have a 21 year veteran of the United States armed forces that’s disabled due to his military service that’s getting kicked out of the armory he spent most of his time in, because he was in the armed forces.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that allergies and fear of dogs are not valid excuses for denying a person with a service dog entry. When asked about the ADA, Allman said, “It doesn’t apply because he’s not setting up at my gun show because we don’t allow dogs in my gun show,” which is surely a string of words put together, but ultimately means nothing.
Allman went on to say that he would sue Williams if he ended up getting sick because of the dog. Williams, however, has an actual valid claim against Allman for asking him to leave the gun show, which is a fairly direct violation of the ADA. Williams is still considering whether or not to press charges.
Do you think Sergeant Williams should press charges? Was Allman in the right for asking Williams to leave? Let us know in the comments below!