Andover family separated, they say, from service dog

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An Andover family is separated from its beloved dog because it's a pit bull mix. The owner says the dog is more than just a pet.

U.S. Army veteran Jon Remy served in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. One thing that followed him home, he says, is post-traumatic stress disorder. 

But he says his dog, Lily, helps mitigate his PTSD symptoms.

"Hypervigilance and anxiety are some of my biggest things and she performs tasks to mitigate those for me," Remy says.  

According to Andover police, Remy's two dogs got loose in late June, which started the family's troubles. Remy says Lily simply returned to the front porch.

But police say, "The one that was on the front porch had been chasing people."

Neighbors' calls to police were of a loose pit bull. Lily --- by a DNA test Remy had done -- is 12.5 percent Stafforshire terrier, part pit bull, and that's been a banned breed in Andover for many years.

Remy says, pit mix or not, Lily is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act as a registered service dog.   

Andover Police Chief Mike Keller says it's not that simple.

"That's the six million dollar question:  is this truly a service dog?" Chief Keller said. "Anybody can go online and, for a fee, register their dog as a service dog. That doesn't make it a service dog under the ADA. That's protected under the ADA Act."

The Remys say they would even move from Andover to a community without breed specific bans if they're not able to keep Lily.

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