Blind man’s service dog kicked out of South Carolina restaurant

In Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina, a blind man accompanied by his service dog who provides invaluable aid was told his dog could not stay in the restaurant and must remain outside.

According to WyffNews, Pedro Camarena walked into the Wok Inn on Tuesday morning with his 75-pound Labrador retriever guide dog, Freddie G, and the owner told him to tie his dog outside. Pedro and Freddie G became companions three years ago when matched together at Southeastern Guide Dogs, and the blind man nor his dog had ever been denied access to a private business.

The owner of the business, Mei Chen, told news media she was afraid the dog would jump on the open buffet table and was not aware, that by law, Freddie G was allowed in the restaurant under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Pedro told Chen the dog was a service dog, but she allegedly told him he could tie the dog outside and watch him from the window.

Camarena was insulted that he be required to leave the dog that he depends on for his eye sight tied up outdoors. When another customer explained to Chen about the ADA law, she stated she went outside and invited the dog in, but Camrena says that never happened. He is filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

(Photo and video screenshot WyffNews)

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Stroke victim reunited with his service dog after a year and a half

In Wildomar, California, a stroke victim and his service dog were reunited at the Animal Friends of the Valley shelter on Thursday. It had been a year and a half since David Guindon last saw Zeus, who had wandered away from his home in San Bernardino.

According to AbcNews, the heartbreaking story began on May 2016 when  the service dog disappeared. Zeus had been purchased  in 2014 after David suffered a heart attack and a debilitating stroke leaving him wheelchair bound. Zeus had been a much appreciated companion.

“If I want to go outside I just tell him, ‘Open the door.’ He’d flip it open for me,” Guindon said. “[He would] hold it open long enough so I could get towards it and get out.”

And when Zeus disappeared, David searched everywhere for his missing dog; posting signs and hiring a pet detective. Zeus was gone and even though he was microchipped – no one had turned him into any of the area shelters or rescue organizations.

And when the “truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction” story kicked in,  it seems as if Zeus was still alive, and the person who had him, had contacted the microchip company to re-register the dog.  Neither the microchip company nor animal control would release the person’s information who had Zeus; all they would tell David was her first name and that she lived an hour away in Lake Elsinore.

“Oh I miss him every day. I just want my dog back please,” Guindon pleaded with the woman.

Originally the woman refused to return the dog, but late Wednesday afternoon she surrendered Zeus to the shelter. On Thursday, David was to be reunited with his dog – but would Zeus remember him? It turns out the husky certainly did remember his friendship bond with David.

 

Even though Zeus appeared to be a bit underweight, David wants to thank the person for doing the right thing. And now the two have been reunited. David is purchasing a GPS collar – so this never happens again.

All’s well that ends well; a special thank you to the woman who returned Zeus back  to David. Indeed this was a special case.

S

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Founder and director of The Barefoot K9 Project accused of running a scam

The Barefoot K9 Project in Homerville, Georgia is a charitable organization offering service dogs for veterans, disabled adults and children. It all sounds very admirable and philanthropic, however many clients who relied on the project told Action News Jax  in Florida that they have all been the victims of a money-making scam that has spanned across Georgia and Alabama..  Now, the organization’s founder Cecil Allen Brown (alias) Moose Brown) and his partner Coleen Miller are allegedly on the run.

Sheila Weaks, a resident of Lacy’s Spring, Alabama knew something was wrong when her son Samuel never got the dog that had been promised him. Sheila heard about The Barefoot K9 on Craigslist and sent an email to them explaining Samuel’s needs and was happy when she received an immediate response. Once an application was filed, she and her son were approved. However, the Barefoot K9 Project then informed Sheila the service dog would cost $30,000.00; quite a daunting amount for a lower middle class family.The Project assured Sheila they would not turn her and Samuel away although they were unable to pay.  They set up a GoFundMe and RallyUp accounts to collect donations to cover the cost of the dog.

When the time came to get a dog, and start the training process, Samuel was so excited; all he could talk about was when he would meet his new friend and if he could name him.  Unfortunately, Samuel, like many others who placed their trust in The Barefoot K9, would never receive his dog.

Coleen Miller, the former director of The Barefoot K9 Project, issued a very disturbing public statement by way of a Faceboook video In her statement, she claimed the organization’s founder Cecil Allen Brown is unemployed and using the money earned from the nonprofit for his personal gain. She displayed on camera some of the receipts for items purchased by Brown including jewelry, handbags, and a Caribbean vacation. She also showed a statement from the bank indicating the non-profit’s account was $1400.00 overdrawn, yet they have collected over $100,000.00 in donations over the years.

Not only was money allegedly stolen from donors and families of disabled children, but dogs donated by breeders have also gone missing.   According to one of the breeders, there were 40 dogs at the facility back in October 2016. As of last week, when Sheriff’s deputies went to the property there were only seven dogs remaining;  33 dogs are assumed missing.

According to Action News Jax, a breeder from Hazelhust, Georgia, said she gave Brown four dogs to be trained as service dogs, but later found two of them for sale on Craigslist. In a Facebook post, a woman alleges she donated a dog to the organization to become a service dog was used for breeding instead. She said one of the puppies ended up dying.  In another allegation, a dog named Chipella, belonging to a hearing-impaired girl named Cynthia Walker was sent to The Barefoot K9 Project to train as her service dog.  Once at The Barefoot K9 Project, Chipella received no training, never went to a veterinarian and had a litter of puppies that died. Now no one knows where the dog is. A reward has been offered to find Chipella and bring her home.  Any information on Chipella can be called in to 910-322-9333 or 910-584-2226.

Law enforcement is conducting investigations in both Alabama and Georgia. Sheila filed a complaint with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama for the $2,000.00 she paid to The Barefoot K9 Project.  Other families have reported losses up to $15,000.00 according to Action News Jax.Sheila is currently helping families file their police reports. She is also working with the breeders who donated dogs to track down their missing animals and trying to repay businesses, family, and friends who donated to her and Samuel.

Sheila, in an interview with  WAFF 48 stated, “There’s a special place in hell for people who take advantage of special needs kids. And that’s exactly what he did.” Cecil Allen Brown has not responded nor commented and is believed to be residing in Homerville, Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

NY Knicks presents wounded vet with service dog in center court

On a special day, when we honor the veterans who so bravely defend our great country, comes the heartwarming story of a decorated Army veteran who met his long awaited service dog Wednesday evening at halftime as the New York Knicks introduced him to his new service dog. According to Fox Sports, in a game between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks recognized United States Army Sergeant First Class Luciano Yulfo, a veteran of 36 years.knicks-and-service-dog-2

Sgt. Yulfo had been waiting 18 months for his canine companion named Murphy, and the two shared a special canine and human moment in front of an appreciative audience. The two seemed to instantly bond. Sharing the moment was Yulfo’s daughter and Larry Johnson who had previously presented the decorated war hero with a personalized jersey.

Murphy comes from Paws of War, a foundation that rescues dogs and then trains them to be service dogs for soldiers hurt in war. Yulfo spent the last two years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center recovering from injuries suffered in Afghanistan in 2014. He now walks with a cane. On the Paws of War Facebook, the organization expressed their gratitude:

“Meet the newest member of our Family, Murphy!! The Paws of War Family cannot thank Cow Harbor Warriors
for their amazing support and generousity! During the NY Knicks halftime – Cow Harbor presented a US Army Veteran who has served over 36 years, a service dog in partnership with Hoops of Northport. The veteran was seriously injured on his last tour in Afghanistan and retired earlier this year. We can never thank you enough God Bless you and Our Military.”

And on Veterans Day, we salute all of our military. Thank you for our freedom.

(Photo of service dog via The Paws of War Facebook page)

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