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Why This Puppy Landed a Marine Veteran With an Eviction Notice

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"I'm going to go to court and I'll win.”

We've seen military veterans wrongly kicked out of restaurants and other public places because of their service dogs, which they are legally allowed to be there. A new incident might take the discrimination to the next level though: a disabled Marine is threatened with eviction for his four-legged friend.

Jessie Johnson of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, told KVLY-TV his landlord gave his family three days to move out once he learned about 9-week-old Phoenix, who will help Johnson with anxiety and PTSD.

Jessie Johnson was told by his landlord that he would be evicted for his service dog in training. (Image source: KVLY-TV) Jessie Johnson was told by his landlord that he would be evicted for his service dog in training. (Image source: KVLY-TV)

“Guess what?” Larry Struass, owner the Green Acres apartment building where Johnson and his family lives, was recorded saying, according to the news station. “I'm going to give you a three day eviction, I'm going to go to court and I'll win.”

“So, you're going evict me for having a service animal?” the vet who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2007 said.

"I'm evicting you, period,” Struass said, according to KVLY.

Johnson said his dog is supported by his doctor and Veterans Affairs to qualify as a service dog — it is in training at this point — under the American Disabilities Act. In accordance with this act and the Fair Housing Act, the landlord "must meet their obligations under both the reasonable accommodation standard of the FHAct/Section 504 and the service animal provisions of the ADA."

Johnson, who had a traumatic brain injury and suffers from PTSD, said the dog will be trained to help calm him in large crowds. (Image source: KVLY-TV) Johnson, who had a traumatic brain injury and suffers from PTSD, said the dog will be trained to help calm him in large crowds. (Image source: KVLY-TV)

Johnson told the news station he filed a complaint with the local VA and with the ADA office. At the time of KVLY's report Monday, he hadn't heard back about the eviction notice received Friday.

At this point, Johnson told KVLY, "I just don't know where to go."

Watch KVLY's report:

"It's frustrating where someone can discriminate against another with disabilities not letting people have their service animals,” Johnson told the news station.

This story has been updated to correct that East Grand Forks is in Minnesota, not North Dakota.

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