Joshua Schutt served in the U.S. Army as a specialist from 2001 to 2004 when he was medically discharged due to an injury.
Since returning home from serving the country, Schutt has battled with post-traumatic stress disorder, an “invisible illness” that takes the lives of 22 veterans every single day. Three years ago, with the help of his service dog, a now 4-year old German Shepherd aptly named Hero, his life began to turn around.
“He helps me with remembering my meds, waking me up from nightmares,” Schutt explained to Fox8. “He helps me go out in society. If I didn’t have him, I would be a hermit pretty much. I wouldn’t leave my house.”
But, last Thursday, while shopping at a Mocksville, North Carolina Dollar Tree store, Schutt, because of his service dog, was treated so poorly that he questioned why he even served his country.
As Schutt, with Hero by his side, approached the cash register to pay for a few items he’d picked up at the Dollar Tree, an employee stopped him, demanding to see Hero’s “papers.”
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs do not need to carry certificates, papers, ID tags, or even wear a vest – and, an employee is not even allowed to ask that any such documentation be shown.
The store employee then stopped the cashier from checking Schutt out and demanded that he leave the store immediately or the police would be called. Then, he called the police.
When police arrived, instead of correcting the store employee, the officer told Schutt to “go somewhere else and buy your stuff.”
Dollar Tree released the following statement:
“Please know Dollar Tree is committed to allowing customers to bring their service animals to all areas of the store where customers are normally permitted.
“Please know we are in the process of reinforcing our policy with our associates, and we appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention.”
“PTSD is an invisible wound that 22 veterans a day take their lives from it,” Schutt said. “It’s just wrong. Why put veterans through more pain than we’ve already gone through?”