Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Virginia, Air Force vet denied real estate exam because of service dog


WALDORF, Md. - Air Force veteran Edward Halstead was turned away from a Virginia real estate exam on Veterans Day because the company managing the exam would not allow him in the testing room with his 13-pound service dog Marino (pictured).

"The irony of it being Veterans Day, I even chose Veterans Day to take the test," Halstead told 9News Now.

"When I showed up I was informed that I would not be allowed the test because I had my service dog with me and I explained the Americans With Disabilities Act allows Marino, my service animal- he is not a pet- to go with me anywhere the public is allowed," Halstead said.

Marino has a better sense of timing than Halstead at times, and is able to remind him when it is necessary to take his medication.

The company that administers the test says it allows service dogs but says it must have notice in advance.

"They must follow a procedure and that procedure is to contact us and submit the proper request for a special accommodation, " said company representative Shawn Snell.

Halstead's position is that he needn't do so under provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Government offices were closed for Veterans Day and could not provide guidance for this story.

"It's quite fair. I have four children and all four of them have served in the armed forces. Two are still serving, so I have a particular appreciation for veterans," Snell told 9News Now.

Snell says Halstead can return and take the test- with Marino- at no extra charge, and Halstead says he will accept the offer.

" I spent a lot of time and put in a lot of effort into studying and being prepared for today at 12 o'clock," Halstead.

Now, he'll prepare again.