Certified Service dog had been rescued by Warwick Humane Society


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  • Provided photos Chico after his rescue in Pine Island in September 2014.




  • Chico 's Service Dog Registration.



— More than two years ago, Chico, a well-mannered seven-year old American Staffordshire Terrier, was rescued by the Warwick Valley Humane Society.

And today, living at his new home in Vernon, N.J., Chico just became a Certified Service Dog.

In September 2014, the humane society’s Animal Control received a call about a dog found tied to a tree on a remote service road in Pine Island. Upon arrival, the Animal Control officer saw a large black and white dog with a large note tacked on the tree, which read, "Call service animal please."

But despite having a registered microchip, shelter employees were unable to locate the listed owner. Chico was deemed abandoned.

Seven months into his state of homelessness, however, Chico was adopted by frequent shelter volunteers Mark and Sherri Cella.

Mark Cella has more than 20 years of military service and had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Having Chico at his side was therapeutic and necessary.

That prompted Cella to apply to U.S. Service Animals to have Chico registered as a Certified Service Dog. And as of Feb. 26, Chico was officially registered with his own photo ID and serial number.

The advantage of registering a service dog is that the Americans with Disabilities Act provides that the dog can accompany the owner almost anywhere including restaurants, the work place, supermarkets and so forth regardless of pet policies. And a landlord or homeowner’s association must provide reasonable accommodation by waiving a no-pet rule or a pet deposit for registered animals.

“We are very happy that Chico is now a Certified Service Dog,” said Suzyn Barron,” president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society. “Mark and Sherri have adopted a few pets from us: Chico, obviously, and then a one eyed young cat and at the end of last year, they adopted a three legged turtle. We have known them for several years now and Sherri has volunteered for us at our events.”

For additional information about adopting a pet from the Warwick Valley Humane Society call 986-2473 or visit: www.wvhumane.org.

- Roger Gavan

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