A New York City woman who sued the Transit Department over what she calls years of harassment over taking her service dog on subways and busses, has been awarded a $150,000 settlement by a judge. Estelle Stamm suffers from PTSD and depression, and the presence of her Anatolian Shepherd, Wargas, helps her function in the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. But Wargas is a big dog, and it seems as if conductors, bus drivers, and police officers have had a hard time accepting that he is a real service animal. Stamm documented some 32 times between 1998 and 2004 in which she was told to remove the dog or was actually issued a ticket.
Judge Sandra Townes ruled that a jury could reasonably conclude that transit officials showed “deliberate indifference” by not responding to the plaintiff’s repeated complaints. Stamm had sued under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibits transit workers from questioning riders about their diabilities.