Service dog owners ready for court battle - FOX 13 News

Service dog owners ready for court battle

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

Bill Smith still can't believe he and his service dog 'Lucky' were kicked off campus.

The disabled veteran -- a retired Green Beret colonel -- is a student at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater. Surveillance video shows what happened to Bill and his yellow lab there back on Feb. 17.

The two are seen sitting at the Hard Drive Cafe on campus, minding their own business, when campus security shows up and tells him and Lucky to leave.

Smith tried to show the dog's certified vest and badge.

"I offered it. 'I don't want to hear it. I'm not interested; you're going to leave. End of story,'" Smith recalled.

It wasn't enough; they had to go. Eventually, Bill was forced to show medical records that explained why he needed Lucky in the first place.

"I gave him the document, but it's completely confidential. I would never share that with anybody," Smith continued. "That's against the law. I don't have to provide documentation."

And Bill isn't alone. Sharon Fowler is legally blind and her guide dog 'Laura' has been with every step of the way since her condition declined.

The nudist community where they live says the dog is too big and doesn't meet association rules.

"It's been very aggravating and frustrating," said Fowler.

She is now taking legal action, and so is Smith.

"They need to focus a little more on respecting everybody," he added.

According to the Department of Justice, if the dog is a legitimate, trained service dog and is behaving properly, then business and organizations are required to provide access.

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