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Veteran, service dog turned away at Capitol

Both got in after lengthy delay


SAN ANTONIO - Robert Ragels, a veteran of multiple tours in the Persian Gulf, said on Monday state troopers denied him access into state legislature chambers when he tried to enter with his service dog Piggy, a pug.

He said he was eventually allowed to enter after a state senator's aide helped.

"A person like me that looks normal and I bring in a dog, they think, 'well that can't be right,' said Ragels. "When something like this happens it just drives me absolutely crazy because I just want to be the same, that's all I want."

Ragels said what added to his frustration is where the incident happened. Weeks ago Governor Perry signed HB 489 which put Texas's laws regarding service animals more in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"I understand she's not a big German shepherd carrying my stuff around because I can't walk or whatever but regardless she is a service animal," he said.

Ragels said afterwards he and his wife ran into their State Senator Donna Campbell and her reaction was not reassuring.

"She was like, 'Well you got in,' not even thinking about what's going to happen tomorrow whenever another veteran wants to get in in there with their dog," he said.

Ragels has had Piggy for two years and trained with her through Train a Dog, Save a Warrior, a non-profit that helps train service dogs for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.

"She goes everywhere with me, everywhere. There's nowhere I don't take this dog," he said. "She's not a pet. She's like a bottle of medicine that I carry around with me." 

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.


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