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Dogs For Veterans

June 17, 2020

A Mount Joy organization that trains service dogs for veterans with disabilities has gone to court to get back a German Shepherd its president says a former volunteer is wrongfully keeping.

David Laughman, president of the Veteran Service Canines Inc., said the organization didn’t want to have to go to court, but had little choice.

“It’s pretty sad when a person takes a dog from a vet,” Laughlin, a former Marine, said Tuesday. “We’re concerned about the safety of our canine.”

Laughman said Sabina Mattern, of East Donegal Township, was a dog evaluator and trainer with Harrisburg Off-Leash K9 Training. Through them, she volunteered with Veteran Service Canines and that’s how she had possession of Willow, the German Shepherd, which she was training for a veteran.

Veteran Service Canines’ lawsuit, filed Monday in Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, said a dispute arose between the organization and Mattern and she was asked to end contact with the group.

Mattern declined comment Tuesday when a reporter visited her home near Maytown.

The suit said Mattern violated its agreement by harassing Veteran Service Canines and appearing at one of its events.

Laughman, 35, who said he has a service-related disability and has used a service dog, created Veteran Service Canines in 2016 as a way to give back to veterans. It’s provided about four dozen dogs, free, to veterans with issues including combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, mobility and traumatic brain injury, according to Laughman and the organization’s website.

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