Disabled Veteran, Issued Citation And Kicked Off Of Boardwalk Because Of Service Dog

 

Jared with his wife, and Service Dog(Courtesy NBC40)

Jared with his wife, and Service Dog(Courtesy NBC40)

 

A North Wildwood, New Jersey Police Officer issued Jared Goering a citation and kicked him and his wife off of a boardwalk for having his service dog.

Jared served a tour in Iraq, 2 in Afghanistan, and spent 19 years as an active member of the Army. Jared said, “I served from 1993 to 2012.” He said he couldn’t sleep Thursday night because he felt so disrespected by a North Wildwood police officer.

Goering said, “Just like any veteran with disabilities with a service dog, to come back and be harassed and shown no respect, it upset me – it really bothered me. I was up most of the night thinking about it.”

According to NBC 40:

“He mockingly asked if all veterans get service dogs,” said Jared’s wife, Sally Goering, “his dog is medically necessary and he is a service dog.”

 

In 2009, Jared was serving in Afghanistan when his vehicle was blown up by IEDs, twice, within 36 hours. Now, Jared uses his 3-year-old service dog, Gator, short for Navigator, to help him walk, and to get up and down stairs.

Jared explained, “I also suffer from PTSD, severe anxiety, depression – and my dog plays a big part in my life. His main purpose is mobility but he also helps me with all my emotional problems from combat.”

 

Jared and his wife Sally say the incident occurred on the 26th street North Wildwood boardwalk. The Goering family said, even after showing the officer the dog’s service identification card, he still issued them a summons and kicked them off the boardwalk.

 

Sally said, “We want the public to be aware that there are different types of disabilities and different types of service dogs – and police officers need to be educated about this.”

North Wildwood police officials say there are no pending charges, but that there are other circumstances surrounding the case.

 

The mayor of North Wildwood says they will issue a formal apology, if appropriate, pending the outcome of the investigation.

 

So the mayor says he will issue a formal apology, apologize for an officer that basically broke the law! Seems someone needs to read up on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Because under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of any facility where the public is normally allowed to go.

For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.

So it seems to me the officer of the law, broke the law! He is allowed to ask if the animal is a service dog, which he did, but then he mocked the Veteran and still issued a citation after he was shown the dog’s ID. And he still forced them to leave the boardwalk!

Here is the video interview from NBC40:

NBC40.net

 

The police department still says it is investigating the matter, but from what I am seeing the officer is at fault and he should be the one apologizing to the Veteran. I believe we will send the mayor an email inquiry as to why the officer is not the one making an apology.

Here is the contact info for City Hall, if you decide to make contact, keep it polite and professional.

901 Atlantic Avenue
P.O. Box 499
North Wildwood, New Jersey 08260
(609) 522-6464

Mayor William Hefney
bhenfey@northwildwood.com

We will keep you updated on this story as we find out more.

 

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38 comments on “Disabled Veteran, Issued Citation And Kicked Off Of Boardwalk Because Of Service Dog
  1. From what I know about the disabilities act this officer was in the wrong service dogs are allowed anywhere the person they lead is going no exceptions

  2. I am a vet and I happen to be on vacation in Cape May, NJ which is about 10 mins from N Wildwood. I will be stopping at the city hall to make my complaint. I also happen to be a police officer in a big city. These small town PDs in tourist areas just aren’t smart. If it was me, I would have said to the vet” nice dog brother, stay safe, be good and thanks for his service”.

    • I’m also a veteran and happen to be a cop as well. I work in a medium-sized city in the Midwest, but I can tell you ignorance exists everywhere regardless of the size of the town and demography. If this cop overreacted then he needs to be disciplined accordingly. This is the reason we in the LE world get a bad rap, because of ass-hats like this. 99% of cops I know are good people that frequently go above and beyond to serve the public, but then every once in awhile you run across someone like this officer seems to be. Sickening.

      • I’m a retired US Army Special Forces Sergeant Major and a retired cop. If…IF this officer made the comment attributed to him then he should be suspended for a couple of weeks to think about his wise-ass, humiliating comment. And he should make a public apology himself, not through the Mayor, who apparently doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to make the officer do it himself.

  3. Agreed, The Officer needs to make an apology and learn the Law he is trying to enforce. Which in case should have been to let a Brother Veteran continue with his dog.

  4. If the animal is not a a trained, designated service animal, it doesn’t get special treatment. There are MANY, MANY phony owners trying to pass off pets as service animals or ‘therapy’ animals…get all the FACTS before judging the officer’s actions.

    • Well Marty, if you would have READ the article and watched the video, then you would have seen where they presented the officer with an ID Card for the animal! An ID card that proved he was a Service Dog…. Facts enough for you?

      • Marty, read the instructions on the CLAYMORE first bro. I would also like to add to this vast majority of “fire him” comments. In the service when we all had joes mess up because of lack of training, did we fire them or did we as professional leaders realize our mistakes and conduct counseling and then retraining? Do we really need to fire a man that protects our spouses and children, mothers and fathers, while we are away because he was ignorant to the Americans with Disabilities Act? How many of us can honestly say we knew every regulation, rule, and SOP? I say give the man a chance to learn from his horendeous mistake and hope he doesn’t do it in the future.

        • Right on Donny, right on. A large number of police officers are veterans themselves.

          Also, the VA doesn’t recognize PTSD dogs as service animals and you never know, this could be what the officer was following. The officer is wrong because the law recognizes them as official service dogs.

    • Problem with your theory. Once the officer is shown the credentials of a service dog then they should stop. Those dogs have to be registered and licensed to be service dogs and have corresponding FEDERAL documentation that trumps any state or city. Maybe the officer needs to learn how to read.

      • There are no federal credentials and no states to my knowledge have any either.

        CERTIFICATION is not required in the USA. Many states lack programs willing to certify dogs that did not go through that program’s training course. The DOJ decided to foster “an honor system,” by making the tasks the dog is trained to perform on command or cue to assist a disabled person, rather than certification ID from specific programs, the primary way to differentiate between a service animal and a pet. It opened the door for people to train their own assistance dog, usually with the help of an experienced trainer, if a program dog is unavailable.

        How can you tell a REAL service dog if ID cards and certificates are actually meaningless? The US Department of Justice permits businesses to ask two questions:
        1. Is this a service dog required because of disability?
        2. What is it trained to do to mitigate the disability?

        After that, you pretty much have to take the person’s word for it.

    • While this is sadly true, that in no way merits an officer to violate the civil rights of an individual with a disability using an assistance animal. ADA clearly states that an individual does not have to show an ID card for their animal. They can be asked 2 questions about the animal and that is all. This officer is liable to be sued and also fired for violation of civic duty.

    • Obviously you don’t read much. It is a trained service dog. You are truly an ignorant person for posting this. How about YOU get all the facts before you post or better, stay off line because we don’t need ignorant people like you and the cop out in society.

  5. I have no doubt that this animal provides mobility service to this disabled vet. Having said that, I have come in contact with people that just like taking their dogs into restraunts and elsewhere with no real need for doing so. If any, the paperwork they have is that their dog visits hospitals and senior centers. People like this make it tough for persons with legitimate needs to have their dogs accepted.

    • You’ve come in contact with people that like taking their service animals into restaurants with no real reason for doing so? Really? They just walk into the restaurant and walk around just because they can? They don’t get seated and eat a meal? And you have encountered more than one person that does this? Riiiiiiiiiight…..

      A person with a service animal shouldn’t be expected to refrain from going anywhere. Educate yourself.

      The article is about a man who was sitting OUTDOORS on a boardwalk. He wasn’t trying to get away with anything. He was enjoying the day with his wife.

      • @Shannon – I think he was only referring to people who are not disabled in anyway or not in actual need of a service animal taking their (untrained lil toy dogs) into places because they can and just say “oh he is a service dog” even if it is just their pet and not at a all a service animal – they just don’t want to leave it at home cause its their baby…I work at a pet store and have people tell me they do that all the time because they know there is no legal certification required and they just don’t ever want to leave their their precious princess at home alone (heaven forbid its feet even touch the ground) and some even carry them in a purse etc…and unfortunately it does make it harder for those who are truly in need of their service animals…

      • Dear God Shannon,
        Comprehension:
        “1 a : the act or action of grasping with the intellect : understanding
        b : knowledge gained by comprehending
        c : the capacity for understanding fully “

  6. I wrote the following email….I read the story of the officer that handed the citation to the wounded warrior and his service dog. Most people would excuse the officer if he was ignorant of the rules about service dogs. However the story said the officer mocked the man and if true that is inexcusable! The officer in question needs to apologize to that man and perhaps get some remedial training .
    Stu Benshoof

  7. Sent my message in, and let me point something out to folks who don’t like the fire him aspect. This isn’t the first time I have heard of this issue. I have actually seen it, and the officer was fired. Why? Because disabilities and working animals are a big thing everywhere. The training on it is very heavy and an officer who can’t remember what he is supposed to do in that situation is a large liability. Personally I say give him a suspension, let it sink in just how bad he screwed up.

  8. Majority of the Police that patrol the boardwalk in Wildwood among other shore towns are Class II police officers (they can only carry a weapon and enforce the law while on duty) that are cops during the summer in highly visited tourist cities who’s normal police force wouldn’t be able to handle the massive amount of population growth during the summer months. That being said because they are Class II they are not as experienced as normal police officers. I was just in North Wildwood myself last week, and some of the Class II officers looked like 12 year old kids. It is unfortunate this happened, and this situation needs to be rectified immediately.

  9. Wildwood police are terrible. The last time I was in wildwood was 2008 after a deployment to Iraq. I was walking back from a local bar I liked woodys and I was stopped by police. The officer mocked me when I gave him my military I’d card. He stated that he was I’m the army and Marines were pussys. He then threw my I’d on the ground . That’s when the other officer got out of the police car and urged him to get back in the car. He then apologized for the officer and his actions. I accepted but I’m not sure my family did considering they had to witness this event first hand. I’ve never been back to wildwood.

  10. I’ve been a Philadelphia Police Officer for 20 years and am ashamed for what happened. I can only think that it probably was one of there so called “Part Time Officers” who only work the summer tourist season. Please do not judge all officers based on the actions of a untrained public servant. Philadelphia would be more than happy to accept any veteran and his service animal to be a tourist here.

  11. I am both a veteran and a retired cop. The characterization of all part time officers is incorrect. Many are exceptional individuals as well a veterans. That being said the problem seems to be a lack of training and supervision. The direct responsibility lies with the chief. In my time as a chief Vicarious Liability was a big issue. In effect training and education must be constant and followed up on to maintain posting the best officers available. The real issue with many small towns is they refuse to pay prevailing wages and prefer to use poorly trained amateurs because they are cheaper..

  12. This makes me sick. A go hard veteran asked yo leave a place he fought for overseas. The cop should have to do a formal presentantion in full dress and apologize publicly while on camera for otber veterans to see his sincerity.
    Then he should pay for their lunch and a treat for the service dog. The police officer shouldnt go with them because you know he’ll be to busy taking classes on service dogs and how not to be a prick.

  13. I don’t know what is happening to this country usa, what did our troops die for have there body part blown off etc what for who for and then be treated like dirt etc something is wrong with this country and we need some one to straiten this all out some one who knows how to run the usa with Balls.

  14. I know that in my state a local restaurant was sued for violating the ADA and it went all the way to the State Supreme court. They ruled that PTSD Animals are not classified as “Service Animals” as they do not meet requirement #2 ” (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.” They cop may actually be right, even if I personally disagree with it.

  15. Forgetting the legality of this situation for a moment. The police officer in question was simply mean spirited!
    The dog was probably wearing some sort of sign as is the norm. As a police officer, why even make the effort to question the validity of the VET and his dog?? Unless they were acting improperly in public. Which was not the case, or it would already be touted as support for the officer.

    The police officer was simply being an ASS!

    Nothing against any other LE personnel. But this individual needs to be disciplined and probably removed.

    Bill
    US Army 65-68
    Duty, Honor, Country.

  16. Something similar happened recently when a Vet parked in a handicapped spot (because he’s handicapped) and the cop issued a citation saying, “You don’t LOOK disabled.”

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