To the Editor:
I would like to take this time to send a thank you to many individuals and government entities that have made a huge difference in my life.
I use a medically prescribed service dog for my disability of Traumatic Brain Injury. I have a bleeding contusion in my brain and it does cause life threatening seizures.
My service dog is trained but due to recent allegations that were filed against me many tended to not believe my service dog was trained or that I even I had a disability that is life threatening.
I do appear normal until my speech is slurred, I wander, I have double vision, I seize, I stumble, etc.
My service dog can call for emergency assistance, break my falls, function as a Guide Dog, assist me with stairs, etc.
I faced a lot of rejection with my service dog the past couple of years. I was denied entry to my polling place, denied medical transportation, denied entry to courthouses, denied entry to stores, all in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and NY State Human Rights Law.
I had reached out to Sheriff Wells, Legislator Scott Sutherland, Attorney Sim Goldman with Disability Rights NY, Legal Services of Central NY, County Attorney Mike Crowe and The Town of Colton Town Board, and Chief Judge for NY Courts Gail Prudenti, NY Senator Marcellino and NY State Division of Human Rights.
The Colton Town Board after consultation with Scott Sutherland and an independent evaluation of my service dog issued the first “Trained Service Dog Identification badge” for a service dog in the country.
The ID Badge has resolved all conflicts with all public and private businesses and government entities.
Quite frankly, The ID badge functions as a handicapped parking placard but it is worn on a service dog.
To eliminate any confusion with issuing the service dog ID I voluntarily submitted my medical prescriptions, health records, my dog’s training certificates and a order by a federal judge with the town clerk. That information is available for law enforcement if the need arises.
The Town of Colton took a very difficult situation and made it fair for all businesses and disabled persons with service dogs.
I just hope other towns and the state will do the same.