Should he stay or should he go?
Little 7-year-old, Anthony Merchante has cerebral palsy but has been battling the courts over something completely different. Anthony has a service dog whom he loves VERY much. His service dog’s name is Stevie and happens to be a pit bull. The fight is over whether or not Stevie should be allowed to come with Anthony to school. Anthony’s mom, Monica, did not sit by quietly. Here is their story:
Anthony has a number of medical issues, including the recurrence of seizures. Stevie is trained to alert human responders, whether that be by jumping on a sensor mat that activates an alarm or through barking to gain attention.
Anthony’s mother, Monica Alboniga, says, “[Stevie] has saved Anthony's life. I feel completely safe every time he is with the dog, because I know the dog will look for help.”
School administrators in Broward County, Florida insist that a dog does not belong in the school and have been fighting to keep Stevie out.
Knowing how important the pit bull is to Anthony’s well-being, Monica took the case to court.
In the end, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom ruled in favor of Anthony and Monica, with the Department of Justice noting that “public entities generally must permit individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals.”
Happy Day! Below is a picture of Monica, Anthony, and Stevie with their lawyer, Matthew Dietz. Way to go!
What a great story about protecting this little boy and still permitting him to go to school with everyone else. This dog is clearly well-trained to care for Anthony and shouldn’t be a threat to anyone else. In my opinion, the judge made the right decision!
For another great story about a man and his dog, click here!