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Dentist accused of denying access to veteran's service dog faces judge

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MANCHESTER, CT (WFSB) -

Last month a veteran with PTSD was turned away from the dentist's office after her service dog wasn't allowed in the procedure room.

Army veteran Lauren Trathen said she needs her service dog to help with her PTSD. And when she went to a Manchester Columbia Dental office last month, she said the dentist would not let her dog Basil into the exam room.

On Monday, Dr. John McCabe appeared in court after he was issued a summons for allegedly denying access to a guide dog. After the incident, Trathen called police and said that the office was not providing her with the same type of service they would with a non-disabled person.

"The dog couldn't come with me into the procedure room. I asked why? She said it was a sterile environment," and asked if the dog could wait in the car, Trathen said, adding that she was traumatized after the incident and said she is scared to go back to a dentist office now.

Jeffery Smith, of Columbia Dental, said McCabe did nothing wrong and said the dog was allowed in the office but not in the operating room. Smith also said McCabe offered to meet with Trathen in another room.

"We took X-rays. We were able to look at the X-rays. And we were prepared to talk to her about the X-rays and she did not want to continue on with the visit," Smith said, adding that Columbia Dental has a long history of working with veterans, and said they are always welcome.

"The doctor that is being charged with this is not only a veteran, but is a currently serving officer with the United States Army," Smith added.

Columbia Dental confirmed that McCabe is still employed with them and will continue seeing patients. Trathen said she has hired an attorney to review her legal options.

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