Service dog kicked out of Veterans Village in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Service dog kicked out of Veterans Village in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/ CNS) - A homeless veteran filed a federal lawsuit against Veterans Village in San Diego after the agency forced him to remove his service dog from the facility, the plaintiff's attorney said Tuesday. 

According to the lawsuit, Michael Roberts had to take his service dog, Arthur, out of the village after a staff member entered Roberts' room at 12:30 a.m. on March 1 and found the Great Dane off-leash. 

Court records show, Roberts was verbally warned about his dog being off leash in his room. 

"I would find it almost unconscionable to tie him to my bed while he is doing his job," said Roberts. 

Roberts said he's trying to get his life together and that his service dog helps him cope and has been crucial in his recovery with alcohol abuse and PTSD. 

Unannounced, the day  after the incident with the employee Veterans Village requested Roberts remove the animal or Roberts would be evicted. 

"It is unconscionable that an agency that claims to support homeless veterans is engaging in actions that dramatically increase the impact of PTSD symptoms and risk of self-medication," attorney Bryan Pease said. "Veterans Village needs to immediately allow Arthur to return, given that there was no incident that would justify such a draconian action." 

Veterans Village Enterprises Inc. referred CBS News 8 to the court ruling when asked for a comment on the suit.  

Roberts was paying for boarding Arthur out of his $597 per month disability proceeds, which is his only income, according to Pease. Currently, a foster home is taking care of Arthur at no cost.  

Roberts adopted Arthur from an animal rescue in January with permission from Veterans Village and trained with him for Arthur to become a service dog. 

His lawsuit against the Veterans Village claims many violations including the fair housing act and failure to accommodate his recovery. 

Roberts said his doctors tell him his anxiety went down with Arthur and now is higher and he has a higher chance of relapsing since he's been without Arthur. 

"I am lost without him," he said.

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