Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bogus Service Dogs Hurt Those Needing Real Ones

ABC 7 News
By Chuck Goudie and Barb Markoff
Monday, January 11, 2016
January 11, 2016

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team investigated why people who disguise their pets as service dogs are making it more challenging for those who really need the help.

A Vietnam vet told the ABC7 I-Team he received "questionable service" before boarding a recent American airlines flight at O'Hare. This was the third time the veteran had trouble with the airline and the issue, he says, was his service dog "Gander."

"If I'm super stressed out, he'll get right in my face," Lon Hodge said.

Hodge is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has some mobility issues from an autoimmune disorder. Four years ago he says his PTSD was so debilitating, he couldn't leave his house.

"I was in a lot of trouble physically and emotionally and was having up to five, six panic attacks a day," Hodge said.

That all changed when Hodge received Gander, a labradoodle with $35,000 worth of training from Freedom Service Dogs. The organization rescues and trains dogs, then matches them with veterans and others with disabilities.
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