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PTSD a factor in retraining service dogs

The Mayors Council for People with Disabilities hosted a forum on Sept. 27 to discuss a new Wyoming law that will charge people with a misdemeanor and a $750 fine for those who attempt to pose their pets as service animals.

Michelle Woerner, CEO of K9s 4 Mobility, said that former service dogs have been attacked while they’re working. Such events can cause these service animals to develop PTSD, which makes it hard to retrain the animal, if they can be retrained at all.

“I’ve had to retrain several dogs over the last 20 years that basically have PTSD because they’ve been attacked,” Woerner said “When a dog goes into a store and they get attacked, the next time they go into a store, they’re scared.”

Maggie Sims, from the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, explained that the American with Disabilities Act requires both public and private businesses to allow admission to people with any type of service animal. Businesses have the right to ask whether the person needs the dog for a disability, and what task the dog is trained to perform.

Claudia Horsburgh, a local resident who trains service dogs, said that she doesn’t think the law goes far enough in regards to people bringing pets into stores.  She noticed that it is difficult to do meaningful training with service dogs while other dogs are around.

“I don’t see any protections for the service dogs in training. I think perhaps the law needs to be more closed,” Horsburgh said.

Chris Brown, director of the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, said that if tougher regulations were to fall into place, they would have to happen at a federal level instead of state level.

About Logan Harrison (26 Articles)

My name is Logan Harrison, I am 21 years old. I was born in the great city of Minot, North Dakota. My father had been sent to the Minot Air Force base, where we lived for four years after I was born. In the year 2000, my father was reassigned to the the F.E. Warren Air Force Base where we ended up staying in smelly, outdated air force housing for three or four years until we moved off the base. I attended Anderson Elementary school and then enrolled into the East High system where I attended Carey Jr. High for three years. After graduating from East High in 2014, I received a scholarship to Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming, to compete on the golf team. During my time there we went to back-to-back National Championships and took second in the region my freshman year, and during my sophomore season we won the Region IX title. I always love a good meal with good company, and I enjoy hanging out and talking with friends and family. I will never pass up an opportunity to pet a dog or any pet.

This past winter I took a trip to St. Thomas Island in the Virgin Islands where I stayed with a friend of mine and worked as a kayak guide for seven weeks. That whole experience is something I encourage everyone to do. Get out of your comfort zone and explore a new environment, culture, food, and activities. I went kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking almost everyday. The highlight of my time there was scuba diving, swimming with sharks and exploring an old shipwreck. The ocean is surprisingly very peaceful and magical when you finally reach the bottom. The whole experience taught me that life doesn’t actually start until you reach the end of your comfort zone.

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