Civil Rights Advocate Sues Over Service Dog Ban
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 11, 2006
SUGARLOAF TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA--A civil rights advocate is suing Sugarloaf Township officials for allegedly discriminating against her by refusing to allow her service dog into public meetings.
According to the Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, Charmaine Maynard, founder and executive director of the grass-roots Citizens Opposing Political Suppression, is asking for $66.8 million in the federal discrimination suit. Maynard has reflex sympathetic dystrophy and other medical conditions, and relies on Liesel, a Rottweiler trained and certified as a service dog.
Maynard alleges that on 48 different occasions over a 12-month period she was prohibited from bringing Liesel to supervisor, zoning, planning, recreation and other township meetings.
Maynard further claims that township officials retaliated against her by announcing incorrectly that she and her husband had failed to pay some property taxes.
Maynard's suit reportedly came after township police officer Diane Fisher filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission against Police Chief John Hudson. Fisher claimed that Hudson reprimanded her for failing to follow his order to remove Maynard's service dog from a November 2004 township meeting.
Fisher said she believed she would have been violating federal law if she removed the dog from the public meeting.
Township officials refused to comment on the specifics of the case.
"Suit asks $66.8M" (Wilkes Barre Times-Leader)
"These clever canines have job to do" (Wilkes Barre Times-Leader)