Man fears eviction because of service dog

Man fears eviction because of service dog

John Engles says he's been threatened with eviction if he doesn't keep his service dog on a leash, but doing so could be deadly.
MORRILTON, AR - "It's killing me. It really is," said John Engles, sitting alongside his dog Gabby. "It's not right."

Gabby is not a pet, she's Engle's service dog. Engles' heart doesn't pump blood properly. That's why he has an oxygen tank, and Gabby has all of his life saving medications.

"This is nitroglycerin," Engles explained after pulling it out of a coat that Gabby wears everywhere. "I use on average two to three tablets a day."

Engles and Gabby live in Park Place Apartments which is public housing in Morrilton. Problem is, signs are now posted there saying dogs must be kept on a leash.

"There's been several times where that's happened. Where people have gone down and laid across the leash while they collapse and then their service animal couldn't help them because it couldn't get free to seek help," Engles explained. "That's what I'm trying to avoid."

And that brings us to why the signs are posted in the first place. Both Engles and apartment management tell us Gabby scared a child inside his apartment building a few weeks back, but didn't physically harm her. The child's mom complained. Since then, Engles claims he's been threatened with eviction if he doesn't keep Gabby on a leash. He says that's unnecessary and against the law. For the record, apartment management denies he's been threatened with eviction -- they don't deny posting the signs.

Said Engles, "this is a right and a wrong I have to fight. I have to fight for what's right." He continued, "Like I say, I've backed down as far as I'm gonna back down. They've got me in a corner and I'm not gonna let it happen."

Richard Upton, the executive director of the Morrilton Housing Authority says that Engles will not be evicted for keeping Gabby off a leash, saying he just wants to make sure everyone's rights are upheld. Upton says the housing authority is conducting an investigation regarding what happened, if anything, between Gabby and the young girl.
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