New Castle shelter says case involving guide dog not settled

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A New Castle homeless shelter denied Wednesday that it had settled a 2012 lawsuit filed by a blind man who said it refused to provide refuge to his guide dog.

An entry on the U.S. District Court docket Tuesday indicated that the case filed by Lawrence County man Kenneth DeFiore against the City Rescue Mission of New Castle had been resolved. Not so, the mission claims.

“City Rescue Mission continues to deny the allegations,” the mission said in a news release. “The only communication Mr. DeFiore had with City Rescue Mission in December 2012 was over the telephone. ... City Rescue Mission maintains that had Mr. DeFiore applied for emergency shelter services in person, he would not have been turned away.”

Mr. DeFiore alleged that the mission violated the Fair Housing Act and other laws when it refused his chocolate Labrador retriever guide dog, Gabby. As a result, he alleged, he was homeless for 17 days, attempted suicide by lying in a busy intersection and was taken in by police.

Last year the U.S. Department of Justice followed up Mr. DeFiore’s lawsuit with its own civil complaint against the shelter and one of its program managers, alleging discrimination and violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rich Lord:


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