ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN)—It’s now a crime in Alabama for a business to prohibit a person and his or her
service animals from entering. It’s a misdemeanor. Recently, a Geneva County man says he was told by an area dentist not to ever bring his service dog back to his office.
Jeff Sheler and his best friend, Mia, are inseparable. Sheler suffers from PTSD due to combat he experienced while serving in the army.
Mia is a three-year-old German shepherd who helps keep his owner calm when in crowds.
Recently, Sheler was told by his dentist not to bring the animal any longer when he receives treatment. But, that now violates an Alabama law that permits service animals.
Sheler says “She lays down say at the dentist’s office. She never gets up or moves away. She’s constantly watching me to make sure I’m not going through a fit or something like that.”
Sheler says the matter has been ironed out and he can still bring Mia for his appointments. Under the law, a business owner can ask a person with a service animal two questions. Do you have a disability? What task is your dog trained to do?
Dog trainer Norman Horton says “We need to take care of them when they come back home and that includes businesses because when a disabled veteran like Jeff here has a service dog, that dog is there for him to live as normal life as possible. You could say it’s a piece of medical equipment with a brain”.
Horton says some pet owners will buy a vest for their dog “saying service animal” when the dog actually isn’t. He says that’s very unethical of the owner. Horton says quite often the wounds of service members can not be seen, but they exist as in the case of Jeff Sheler.