Visually impaired woman roughed up in dispute with guard over her service dog
A security guard at a Social Security Administration office in Georgia has been arrested for allegedly roughing up a visually impaired woman who insisted she had the right to enter the building with her service dog.
Which of course, she did.
Which of course, a government employee — even a contracted one — should know.
Melissa McMann says she is bruised and sore, and her shoulder possibly dislocated, after her visit to the Social Security office in Winder.
The guard, Leroy Huff, faces a charge of simple battery after he allegedly grabbed the 38-year-old McMann by the arm and tried to remove her from the office. Huff surrendered to authorities Wednesday and was taken to Barrow County Jail, WSBTV reported.
McMann and her husband, Christopher — along with Hurbie, her 5-year-old yellow Labrador — went to the Social Security office Thursday to complete some paperwork for their youngest daughter, who they adopted from Thailand.
Winder police say, as the couple was waiting to be called, Huff, an armed security guard, came up and told them dogs were not allowed in the facility.
When the couple explained that Hurbie was a service dog and legally allowed to be there, the officer demanded to see papers to prove it.
The McMann’s didn’t have any — for service dogs aren’t registered by the federal government, or most states – but Hurbie did have a guide harness and a sign attached to the harness stating he was “a working dog for the blind,” police said.
The McManns were protesting when Huff “proceeded to grab” McMann and “forcefully remove her from the building,” the police report said. At that point Mr. McMann called police on his cell phone.
Mrs. McMann, who has retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has left her with little sight, went to a hospital emergency room, where she was told her shoulder may have been dislocated.
Huff works for Paragon Security Services, which provides guards to the Federal Protective Service of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Social Security Administration apologized to McMann for the incident.
“Service animals are allowed in Social Security field offices,” Patti Patterson, regional spokeswoman for the Social Security Administration, told Channel 2 in an email. “We have apologized to Ms. McMann for the unfortunate incident that occurred with the contract security guard in our Winder field office.”
Posted by jwoestendiek September 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, disabilities, dislocated, dogs, ejected, force, georgia, grabbed, hurbie, leroy huff, melissa mcmann, pets, service dogs, shoulder, social security administration, visually impaired, winder