CORDOVA, Tenn. — A Cordova veteran is speaking out after he says he was not allowed to bring his service dog into an east Memphis church earlier this month.
Mark Laub was trying to attend his daughter's cheerleading banquet at Bellevue Baptist Church when security told him he couldn't bring a certified service dog into the building.
"I was diagnosed with PTSD and a meriad of issues. He's been trained to intervene. He's probably literally saved my life," Laub said. The veteran says it's hard to understand why he wasn't allowed to bring his dog Thorn to his daughter's event.
"We began a conversation about what paperwork he needed. Things like that. I was trying to explain to him that the ADA doesn't require any kind of paperwork. So I wasn't sure what he needed."
After presenting a card that identified Thorn as a service dog to security he was told that federal law doesn't apply to the church.
Now Laub questions whether security could prohibit Thorn from something that wasn't a church organized event. Arlington Schools confirms the banquet was sponsored by the Cheer Leader Booster Club.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act Thorn would indeed qualify as a service dog, but there are instances when religious organizations are exempt.
"We believe, simply, this is some over zealous security guards and some office staff," Attorney Jeff Ward said. Ward is representing Laub and has filed a complaint against the church with the ADA and the Justice Department.
He stresses that they're not suing but says there needs to be a clearer understanding of a ADA regulations.
The veteran says the incident points out the need for education.