Midlands town fighting to have service dog removed from town hall

Midlands town fighting to have service dog removed from town hall

RIDGEWAY, SC (WIS) - A service dog is the center of a dispute between the Town Clerk and the Ridgeway town council and the mayor.

The dog is a Rottweiler named Bella, who has been going to work with her owner Vivian Case. Case is the town clerk of Ridgeway for the last 4 years.

Now the town of Ridgeway is seeking legal advice on the purpose of the dog and it is not sitting well with some residents. Bella's presence has been a controversial topic since April.

On July 18, several residents stood up in opposition at a council meeting opposing the council's discussions to remove Bella.

Councilman Donald Prioleau said there was one verbal complaint earlier this year about a Rottweiler being at the town hall. Prioleau said he and other council members, including Mayor Charlene Herring, agreed that the type of dog poses a threat to Ridgeway residents.

They have since hired an attorney for legal advice.

Ridgeway resident and Tea Store owner Carol Allen says she and other residents are confused as to why the town is spending thousands of dollars on trying to remove a service dog.

"Vivian is the kind of employee. She's very true to the town and very true to her town. She's trying not to hire the attorney that we all know if she did, I'm pretty sure she would win," Allen said. "There is no problem with Bella. The problem is not with Bella. I think until the council decides to get honest with what the problem is really about, we're never going to know."

Councilman Prioleau says no money has been spent yet but it will be at an expense to the taxpayers eventually.

Case did not want to make any comments on camera but did confirm that Bella is her service dog and is very well trained who has been going to work at the town hall since she was 8 weeks old.

There will be a discussion at the next council meeting, but it's undetermined if a decision will be made.

We have reached out to the Mayor but so far she has made no comment.

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved.