My service dog was taken from me over a year and a half ago as part of a vendetta with our HOA. I have since suffered severe health issues. I have not, contrary to NC law, been allowed to see her. She was in good health and this was admitted in open court. Iredell County Animal Control has harassed us in the past and has covered up and lied about what has been going on. I was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. The animal control chief, Chris Royal, in the meantime, allowed 20 dogs, seized from an alleged hoarder to die of distemper because she did not vaccinate on intake. Some of these dogs had been adopted out and were not vaccinated upon vaccination. The county has been notified repeatedly that Katie, who is soon to be 7, is a service animal and they are in violation of the ADA. I was forced to plead no contest under duress and was promised she would be returned. The day before I was to be in court, I happened to encounter an officer of Ms Royal's at a stoplight. He began to tailgate me in a menacing fashion. I was in fear for my safety. This man made eye contact with me and did this on purpose. He knew that I had been in a serious car accident years ago and had undergone 3 neck surgeries. He meant to frighten me and succeeded. I reported this to the county manager, Ron Smith. He investigated for all of ten minutes then told me that Chief Royal denied having a truck in town. I suffer from a TBI and night terrors which had been in remission. The next day in court, the deal was off and the book was thrown at me. I could not have animals for a year and I was fined. The officer who had tailgated me was not in court. The matter of the tailgating did not come up. My attorney appealed. The county continued to ignore the ADA and the fact that my dog helps with depression, equilibrium issues, and night terrors, which began to reoccur within days. I sleepwalk and have severely injured myself repeatedly over the course of the past year and to the point where I have had many epidurals and will now have to have extensive cervical spine surgery. The county has continued to drag its heels. It also will not produce a document that I have requested repeatedly that proves that its officer has lied and Ms Royal has covered for him. In the meantime, my dog, a healthy, happy, beloved pet, companion, and needed service dog languishes in a shelter where no one has seen her. My original sentence was up in September. My dog did nothing wrong. I have had no peace and I worry constantly. I want my name cleared and as a further note, the sheriff and a deputy are under fire for sexual harassment in this county. I have been subjected to verbal harassment and stigmatization for my disabilities and in a time when a celebrity suicide over such a thiing is making headlines, this should not be acceptable, especially when it comes from public officials. There is a culture of bad behavior and retaliation for standing up for your rights in this county. Ms. Royal has played fast and loose with the rules, letting hoarders go at times, while crucifying others. Send a message to her and to Iredell County that they are not above the law.
- Iredell County
Free my service dog
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