Get rid of your dog or lose your home. That was the choice a 73-year-old disabled veteran who suffers from PTSD was given by their landlord.
Imagine having served your country and being treated in such a heartless, callous manner.
The poor, heartbroken man, was facing homelessness but would not give up his best friend, someone who he needs as much as they need him. In an interview with ABC 6, his heartbroken words were broadcast on-air.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. You know, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do…”
The man’s name is Willie Williams.
He is an ex-marine and veteran of the Vietnam war.
Like so many others who served, Willie suffers from depression, PTSD, loneliness, and feelings of isolation. Service dogs, like the one Willie was told to get rid of, have been shown to help people tremendously as they deal with such issues.
“She all I have and I’m she have.”
Willie’s dog is named Diamond, and just like diamonds, she’s forever. He would never give her up because a heartless landlord felt they had the right to ask him to.
Willie wouldn’t give up Diamond in the same way a parent wouldn’t give up their child.
Willie got a letter saying if he didn’t get rid of his service dog within 10 days, he’d be evicted.
He was never going to get rid of Diamond, so Willie knew he was facing homelessness, something many other veterans are faced with as well.
The apartment complex he lived in was designed so veterans like Willie would not end up homeless.
Willie moved into Freedom’s Path Chillicothe 3 years ago. The residential community was built to help at-risk veterans avoid experiencing homelessness. There is also medical staff on-hand in case any resident gets sick.
It is located near the Chillicothe VA Medical Center Campus in Ohio.
“If I have a problem, I get sick, I know the rescue squad is right there. Take three minutes to get there.”
How could a property manager who runs a residential complex designed to keep veterans off the street threaten a veteran that they would be kicked out? Don’t they know how helpful service dogs are to veterans?
Imagine the stress and heartache Willie must have felt to read the below words:
“Willie, it’s time for you and your dog to go. You will no longer be tolerated. Move out.”
Not only was the letter Willie received heartless, however, it was also possibly illegal.
The issue with Willie’s dog seems to be that some neighbors had complained Diamond wasn’t on a leash while in the elevator. Willie explained what happened during his interview with ABC 6.
“It was an accident when she got in the elevator, ’cause when I’m at my friend’s house, I don’t need her on a leash.”
Willie didn’t know who to turn to. It must have felt like nobody was on his side.
How alone must Willie and Diamond have felt? Won’t anyone help them?
Willie loves Diamond. She’s a huge part of his world.
Get rid of your dog, or move out! A Vietnam veteran fears he'll be homeless again. He turned to #6onyoursideinvestigates for help. Hear why he was sent this ultimatum tonight at 6. pic.twitter.com/le0oIR6ipX— Tara Morgan (@tarawsyx6) January 23, 2020
“If it weren’t for her, I just would probably go into total isolation.”
Not knowing where else to turn, Willie contacted the media to get his story out to anyone who would listen.
“This is not a spot and place I want to be in right now in my life. Like I said, at my age, I don’t know how much time I got. All I want to do is live and let live.”
Once the news team got Willie and Diamond’s story out, the local community was incensed at how they had been treated.
Lawyers Sam Marcellino and Steven Katz even stepped up to represent Willie free-of-charge. There are good people out there, even lawyers apparently.
Thanks to the news team and Willie’s legal representation, this story has a happy ending. The property managers were never able to show that Willie or Diamond had ever done anything wrong.
An agreement was also reached that Willie would keep Diamond on a special leash, called a gentle leader.
Willie was never kicked out and he and Diamond can stay together. It is what they both so richly deserve.
Learn more about their story in the video below.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.