NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Twice in the past two weeks, a 9/11 first responder who uses a service dog to treat his PTSD has again been denied access to a building because of his service dog.
As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported, Jamie Hazan was a volunteer EMT at ground zero following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Like so many other responders, he is still undergoing treatment for several things, and Bernie, his service dog, treats his PTSD.
Earlier this month, Hazan was attempting to go to a shared workspace with Bernie at the Verizon Building a block from the World Trade Center. But Bernie was not allowed in the building.
That led to a long discussion with security eventually calling the police on Hazan.
“Ended up with five counterterrorism police officers, being taken off the street, because a guard doesn’t believe me that Bernie the dog is a service dog,” Hazan said.
A lot of this is happening because there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about service dogs, Smeltz reported. By law, the owner does not have to present any type of identification — and service dogs are allowed to go wherever their owner goes in a public space, even places that have a no pet policy.
Hazan also told CBS2’s Valerie Castro back in September that he was denied entry to the New York State Psychiatric Institute when he walked in with Bernie.
Seen on cellphone video, the guards at the institute claimed they needed to call a supervisor to determine whether Hazan could bring in his dog.
“I basically said, ‘He’s a service dog,’ but that’s after he said, ‘Hey, no dogs,’ and I’m like, ‘Hey, have you read the law lately?’” Hazan said in September.
The situation escalated, and NYPD officers were called in. Hazan grew emotional explaining the situation.
“He’s a service dog from Dogs for Warriors, he basically — the dog helps me,” Hazan tells the officers in the video.
After a discussion between officers and guards, Hazan was finally allowed inside.
“Tell me, why didn’t you let me in?” he says in the video.
Hazan said at the time that he wanted the guards fired, and he wanted the New York State Attorney General’s office to investigate.