An ex-Marine is suing the city of Lakewood, Ohio, for discrimination and cites that he was harrassed by a city animal control officer over his use of a pit bull as a service dog.
Patrick Boyd claims animal control officer Jack Crawford discriminated against him based on his disability and violated his civil rights, reports Cleveland.com.
In May of 2014, Boyd brought his dog, Veronica, to a local dog park. The pit bull was not muzzled or leashed because doing so would interfere with its ability to assist Boyd, since he uses her to help his post-traumatic stress disorder. He was approached by Crawford and showed him a card that said his pit bull was a service animal.
Pit bulls are considered "vicious animals" and banned in Lakewood, except for use as a service animal, police dog, or under the care of a veterinarian or rescue organization.
Boyd spoke with Lt. Frank Eschweiler regarding his run-in with Crawford.
Eschweiler allegedly told Boyd the city’s service animal exemption only applies if he is "in a restaurant" and that “you have no right to have your dog in my city.”
Boyd was charged for violating city ordinances governing pit bulls, according to the lawsuit.
The charges against Boyd were dismissed in November because it was found that the dog was exempt under the city’s law.
But on Nov. 29, Boyd claims Crawford harassed him again.
"The first situation, that's one thing," Boyd’s attorney, John Gold, said. ”But then the second time around, after he's already acquitted, for the same warden to approach him and give him a hard time again, that's really to us that's the most egregious fact of the case."
There were allegedly other patrons at the dog park with non-service animal pit bulls and Crawford did not engage with any of them.
Malicious prosecution and infliction of emotional distress have also been claimed in the lawsuit by Boyd.
Boyd is seeking damages of more than $225,000. He is not attempting to have the controversial ordinance overturned.