Veteran with service dog and church deacon clash

Associated Press • Aug 7, 2013 at 11:57 PM

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A military veteran and officials of a Clarksville church have different versions of a disagreement, but both say the former soldier and his service dog left a worship service.

Kristofer Magstadt served four combat tours in 10 years as a member of the 101st Airborne Division. He told The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/15Mgxww) he took his 5-year-old daughter to Greater Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday. Magstadt said when church deacon Archie Parker saw the dog, he requested Magstadt tether it outside.

Parker told the newspaper he wasn’t concerned until Magstadt walked his daughter to the children’s area, which is a small room. The deacon said he told Magstadt he couldn’t bring the dog into the room.

The dog wears a vest identifying it as a PTSD service dog.

The newspaper reported Parker took responsibility for what he termed a misunderstanding.

“I didn’t know if the children would spook the dog. I didn’t know anything about this dog,” Parker said.”He (Magstadt) didn’t explain anything about the dog.”

Lea Patterson, a dog trainer certified by the Train a Dog, Save A Warrior program, said she has placed 20 dogs with soldiers and veterans and at least once a week, at least one of them is asked to leave a place of public accommodation because of the dogs. She said this is the first incident at a church.

Magstadt said he has been a member of the church for four years.


Information from: The Leaf-Chronicle, http://www.theleafchronicle.com

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