Veteran faces giving up pit bull therapy dog or leaving town

pitbull

CBS Atlanta: BELLEVILLE, KS (KCTV) – A veteran suffered from post-traumatic stress after his tour overseas could either be forced to move or give up his therapy dog because Diesel is a Pit Bull Terrier.

Bo Ready has an attorney and is hoping to get the city ordinance changed.

“This dog is more than a companion. It provides a service to him. It comforts him when he’s having an anxiety attack,” said Katie Barnett, who is co-counsel for Ready.

Belleville is a small town just south of the Nebraska border. The ban on pit bulls, boxers and Rottweilers dates back years.

Belleville City Attorney Rachel Zenger said the ordinance is clear and only registered service dogs are allowed an exception. Diesel provides comfort to Ready.

Ready would like to get Diesel trained as a service dog once he can afford it. In the meantime, more than 500 supporters as well as psychiatrists and other medical professionals have written city leaders in support of Diesel and lifting the ban.

But Zenger said the council isn’t budging. “It was taken into consideration by the council, and they felt it was the best decision for Belleville to continue to ban certain breeds,” she said.

Bo Ready joined the Kansas Army National Guard in 2005, and he is still a mechanic.

In 2009, Bo Ready was sent to Egypt and did a tour of a year. When he returned to Kansas, he faced serious emotional and mental issues. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and severe depression.

“I would blow up and break things, and sometimes it would be the smallest thing that I would blow up on,” he said.

He sought help from psychologists, and was admitted to mental health facilities multiple times. During a 7-week stay at the Veterans Hospital last Christmas, he found some relief. A dog trainer brought two Pit Bull Terriers to the hospital for canine therapy. “I just had joy being with them and petting them,” he said.

Dogs are often used to provide therapy, comfort and companionship for soldiers struggling with post-traumatic stress and other issues. His psychologist recommended he get a dog, so he got Diesel when he was just an 8-week-old pup.

He turns to the dog when he is down or feels an anxiety attack coming on. He said playing with the dog and petting the dog comforts him, or just lying on the couch with his dog. “It calms me down with him around,” he said.

In July, a Belleville police officer came to his home and alerted him to the city ban on pit bulls. Ready was eventually issued a citation.

Zenger said 16 states refuse to let cities ban dogs simply because of their breeds.

Ready said Belleville has never enforced the ordinance before even though there are other violators. “I’ve seen many dogs around here that are illegal. It seems like they targeted me because I have my dog out in the public,” he said. “I run my dog.”

Or he did. He said he is keeping Diesel mainly inside until the issue is resolved, which he said is a problem for the dog.

The case will go before a municipal judge this fall.

He cannot imagine Diesel not being in his life, saying the council’s attitude irritates him. “I should be able to keep my dog,” he said.

If he doesn’t win in court, then he said he will move away from the only town he’s ever called home. “I wouldn’t have a choice because I’m not getting rid of my dog,” he declared.

I read the ordinance and it seems Bo could keep Diesel as long as he kept him confined while at home, and on a leash and muzzled when outside. It’s too bad the council is refusing to budge even with the large amount of support for Diesel. Here’s a link to the contact information for the city if you want to leave them a message in support of Bo.

DCG

5 responses to “Veteran faces giving up pit bull therapy dog or leaving town

  1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, DCG! Does this puny town truly believe anyone is going to take it seriously in any way, when it cannot deal w/this situation appropriately?

    Here is a man willing to DIE for these fools, but now that he’s returned they won’t let him have his canine companion because of an earlier, irrelevant ordinance. Nobody’s asked them to remove the ordinance, only that they allow a single-time exemption!

    How much lower can ungrateful humans sink in disrespect of our soldier warriors, men and women who were ready to die for these fearful wretches? Got to go, my BP’s rising to the boil!

  2. Most of these dogs belonging to breeds that historically have been used/trained for dog fighting and aggressive activities can be raised from puppies to be gentle companions. Most, but not all. Exceptions have to be made and should be done on a case by case basis.

  3. Totally disgusted with this town,ignorance is what is causing this.City Officials should at least try to attempt to attempt to educate themselves on the Pit Bull, they are used as service dogs for people with disabilities, they are MWD ,K9 dogs for police.Your city is trying to take away a Veteran’s therapy dog.Is this how your town shows support for the men and women that have served they’re country, leave this Vet and his Pit Bull alone.Targeting and harassing this man is wrong.Ignorance breeds fear,education is knowledge something your city officials clearly don’t seem to have.

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