Veteran’s PTSD Service Dog Banned at VA Hospital

A military veteran and his PTSD service dog are going up against the government, after being given a federal citation for bringing the dog with him to a VA hospital.


Brandon Rimmer is a former K-9 handler in the United States Air Force who served two combat tours in explosive detection. The Ohio man brought his four-month-old lab Old GLory with him to the Cincinnati VA hospital, and was given a hard time from VA Police who told him that the dog was not allowed to come with him.


Related: Bipartisan PAWS Act To Help Veterans With PTSD


Rimmer claimed that he is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) for his PTSD, but the police disagreed and gave him a violation that will require him to appear in court in July.


David Bartos is the Cincinnati VA police chief and said that he believes Old Glory is just a pet puppy, not a service animal. According to Bartos, a service animal is trained to do tasks for the disabled, but having PTSD doesn’t qualify because offering emotional support is not a task.


The ADA disagrees, however, as guidelines say that a service animal calming people with PTSD does qualify.


And while it seems that two federal government organizations might have differing opinions of what rules would apply, doesn’t it just make sense to err on the side of the man who sacrificed his life in the name of his country?


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that over 50% of Vietnam, Gulf War/Iraq (Desert Storm) and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD, and it’s well-known that service animals can offer so much for those suffering from the trauma of war and combat.


Related: New Report Shows Army’s Failure In Taking Care Of Heroic Canines


So what in the world is being proven by preventing a war hero from having his service dog with him, in a place that is supposed to be taking care of our heroes?


That’s what Rimmer plans to look at, when he goes to court on July 18. He said he’s going to go against the government so no veteran with PTSD ever has to have this happen to them.


It’s a sad state of affairs when the very place our Veterans go to for help and recovery can’t be compassionate with them.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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