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Police escorted a Vietnam veteran off a flight after a dispute over his service dog

By Jerry Najera, Multimedia Journalist
Published On: Sep 06 2013 12:56:34 PM CDT

The man was traveling through Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to El Paso.

EL PASO, Texas -

"No! I'd appreciate if we'd just get the hell off this ground and get to where we're going," yelled an unidentified man in a recently posted YouTube video.

The man was pretty upset after a U.S. Airways crew member asked him to remove his service dog from the seat and place him on the floor.

"I'm legally in the right by ADA law. This is a service animal and he can ride with me any place," said the man who described himself as a Vietnam veteran. 

The man claimed he had the right to have his dog in the seat next to him.

The veteran refused to put the dog down, saying there wasn't enough space.

YouTube video shows the man yelling obsceneties at a crew member.

The crew member was patient, cordial and even apologetic, but it didn't help the situation.

"Apologize all you want, but we're still wasting all these people's time and mine," said the veteran.

The plane had to be returned to the gate and the veteran was escorted off.

A service animal trainer told ABC-7's Phoenix afiliate that service dogs are trained to lie down in small confined spaces for travel.

ABC-7  got in contact with officials from U.S. Airways. They said it is not their policy to remove service dogs from a plane.  U.S. Airways sent us this statement:

"Our policy does not permit service animals to occupy an empty seat. This rule, approved by the FAA, is for the safety of the animal as it cannot be properly restrained, as well as for the safety of all passengers, as it can become an obstruction if the aircraft has to be evacuated on the ground."

Officials also told ABC-7 they rescheduled the veteran's flight for the following day and they paid for his overnight stay at a hotel.

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