Get Marty: Owner Angry After Being Cited For Having Service Dog Off-Leash

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man with disabilities and his service dog reached out to Get Marty for help.

“I just want to be able to walk my dog in the park,” says Timothy Wright.

The Pittsburgh man has diabetes and severe arthritis. He also has a service dog that alerts him if his blood sugar is low and he needs insulin.

He walks his dog, Christopher, every day in Frick Park. He says he cannot use a leash because his dog has pulled him down.

“I’ve had cracked ribs from falling in the park,” says Wright.

The problem is, Pittsburgh does not allow off-leash dogs in city parks. But by federal law, Wright says he can have his service dog off leash.

Recently, Wright got a ticket from the city for an “off-leash dog.” He’s not happy about it.

“I will not accept this,” says Wright.

Our Get Marty team had attorney Blaine Jones look into the matter. We also had the city of Pittsburgh take a look.

“Timothy has a very good case. He’s on the right side of the law here,” says Jones.

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Meantime, the City of Pittsburgh says it will comply with state and federal law. Chief-of-Staff Kevin Acklin says they will withdrawal the ticket if need be.

He also says he wants all city residents to feel comfortable in the parks, especially residents with disabilities.

If you’d like Marty to help you solve your problem, email him at

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One Comment

  1. This City Sucks! I have my own Case Against the City of Pittsburgh right now & I’m willing to go as far as I need to go to Prove my Case. I have a Finding of “Probable Cause” by the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission for Disability Discrimination. Is there anyone out there willing to Help me with my Case? Probably Not, just thought I would Ask

  2. Cmon PIttsburgh!!! A trained service dog will not pull his handler down. I suspect something not totally legit here.

  3. No, just no. This dog is NOT a service dog! A service dog will not pull it’s handler down. This guy’s dog is his pet that is not trained for do even the most basic of things if he can’t get it to heel properly in the park. He needs to have a trainer work on it, until then he needs to keep the dog in a safe location on leash and away from the park. Don’t fall for the fake service dog scam here. It makes real service dog handlers look bad.

  4. Also, on close inspection, watching that dogs body language it is not approaching other dogs in a friendly manner. His tail and head are up, chest puffed out, gait stiff and body stiff. As a service dog, he should NEVER be allowed to just approach other dogs like he is. The ONLY time a service dog is allowed to be off leash is if having a leash on restricts it’s ability to do it’s tasks per the ADA, not because it pulls you down and you can’t handle him. This guy is a serious fake and I’m embarrassed that you have even gone so far as to do this report.

  5. The ADA says a service dog must be leashed and or tethered unless it interferes with it’s duties…also a trained service dog should never pull it’s owner down..something isn’t right about this.

  6. Not sure what exactly is wrong with this lawyer you consulted, but if he thinks he ‘has a good case’ and is ‘on the right side of the law’ he may need to take the bar exam again.

    The federal Americans With Disabilities Act states VERY CLEARLY that service dogs must be leashed or tethered unless it interferes with mitigating the disability. Since being on a leash would in no way interfere with blood sugar detection, this super special snowflake who thinks he’s exempt from the law absolutely deserved the citation.

    Seriously, how hard is it for a LAWYER to read the ADA? Since he can’t seem to find it, here’s a handy link that shows that law is NOT on this guys side at all. Please note where it says “The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public places unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents use of these devices.”

  7. From the ADA page:
    Q27. What does under control mean? Do service animals have to be on a leash? Do they have to be quiet and not bark?

    A. The ADA requires that service animals be under the control of the handler at all times. In most instances, the handler will be the individual with a disability or a third party who accompanies the individual with a disability. In the school (K-12) context and in similar settings, the school or similar entity may need to provide some assistance to enable a particular student to handle his or her service animal. The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public places unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents use of these devices. In that case, the person must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the animal. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair may use a long, retractable leash to allow her service animal to pick up or retrieve items. She may not allow the dog to wander away from her and must maintain control of the dog, even if it is retrieving an item at a distance from her. Or, a returning veteran who has PTSD and has great difficulty entering unfamiliar spaces may have a dog that is trained to enter a space, check to see that no threats are there, and come back and signal that it is safe to enter. The dog must be off leash to do its job, but may be leashed at other times. Under control also means that a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly in a lecture hall, theater, library, or other quiet place. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not mean that the dog is out of control.

    Allowing a “service” dog to greet other dogs is not keeping it under control. He’s violating the ADA right there.

  8. Oscar Diggs says:

    Even Jackie Chiles would know better. He needs a dog to tell him when to push away from the dinner table, not to alert for blood sugar levels.

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