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Ohio veteran cited for bringing his service dog to VA hospital

CINCINNATI, OH (WCMH) -- A military veteran in Ohio has a service dog to help him deal with his PTSD, but the vet got in legal trouble when he brought the dog with him to a VA hospital.

Brandon Rimmer calls his 4-month-old lab Old Glory his service dog for post-traumatic stress disorder. 

"The dog is a medical necessity. I'm covered by the ADA," he said.

Rimmer was a K-9 handler in the Air Force. He served two combat tours in explosive detection. 

"You can't adjust back to civilian life. You can't explain it unless you've experienced it."

When Rimmer was admitted to the Cincinnati VA hospital for tests Wednesday, Old Glory went with him.

But, that resulted in the VA Police issuing a citation to federal court. 

"My PTSD service dog, it's not recognized by the VA," he said. "It's recognized by the ADA, but it's not recognized by the VA. So, I'm in violation of federal law."

Cincinnati VA police chief David Bartos told WCPO he believes the dog is a puppy, not a service animal trained to perform tasks for the disabled.

"Emotional support is not a task," Bartos said, citing national VA guidelines. 

That's where things get confusing. ADA guidelines say a service animal can be used to calm people with PTSD. 

Different federal agencies have differing regulations.

Both Rimmer and Chief Bartos say they would welcome a review of the rules to come up with a more precise policy. 

"The only reason that I'm doing this going up against the government, the same government I swore to serve and protect, is because this doesn't need to happen to another veteran that has PTSD," Rimmer said.

Rimmer's case will be heard in court on July 18. 


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