Lawsuit: Former K9s For Warriors dog trainer claims nonprofit refused to let her use service dog at work

Attorney for Alyssa Anderson says service dog ‘Pooh Bear’ did not interfere with her job duties

K9s For Warriors in San Antonio. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A former dog trainer for K9s For Warriors has filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court in San Antonio, claiming that the nonprofit refused to allow her to use her service dog at work and later fired her.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, claims the organization violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and demonstrated disability discrimination toward Alyssa Anderson, who worked for the San Antonio location of the Florida-based nonprofit until last year.

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Anderson’s lawsuit was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News.

Anderson, who according to the suit has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, depression and ADHD, requested that she be allowed to bring her service dog “Pooh Bear” to work beginning in the fall of 2022 due to her disabilities.

While the nonprofit accommodated Anderson’s request on a “60-day trial basis,” she was told in January 2023 that she could no longer take Pooh Bear in public while working, the suit states.

Additionally, Anderson was told Pooh Bear would have to be kept in a crate while at the San Antonio location and could only be let out while he interacted with her, according to the lawsuit.

The following month, Anderson was informed that her request could not be accommodated and her employment was being terminated, the suit states.

The suit also alleges that Anderson was held to a different standard than other trainers who used service dogs because Pooh Bear had not been trained by K9s For Warriors.

Reached for comment Wednesday, Anderson’s attorney said his client’s service dog did not interfere with her job duties in any way.

A spokeswoman for K9s For Warriors released the following statement to KSAT Wednesday:

While we do not comment on ongoing litigation, K9s For Warriors is a knowledgeable advocate for the use of Service Dogs in the employment setting in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and provides programmatic instruction, training, and advocacy on the subject to its graduating Warrior and Service Dog teams. K9s strictly adheres to the ADA law in its own employment practices as well.

Anderson began working for K9s For Warriors in San Antonio as an apprentice dog trainer in September 2021 before being promoted to canine trainer and then to training liaison.

Her attorney confirmed to KSAT on Wednesday that the suit does not request a specific amount of damages and that he will allow a jury to determine a fair amount.

K9s For Warriors’ San Antonio campus received expansion funding from the city in 2022 in the form of bond money, despite complaints from the public that the nonprofit was exaggerating how many dogs it had rescued locally.

K9s For Warriors, which touts itself as the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for veterans, laid off staff, including in San Antonio, last year.

Read more reporting on the KSAT Investigates page.

About the Author

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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