SANDPOINT, Idaho – Police in Sandpoint received an award for helping a disabled veteran receive a much needed service dog.
Bill Yeager was going to receive a dog earlier in 2016 but the company giving him the dog pulled out at the last minute. They said there were too many loose and potentially dangerous dogs in Yeager’s neighborhood.
A captain at the Sandpoint Police Department said they’re honored by the award but added that they are just doing their job. They said they would do this for anyone who was in need.
Friends of Yeager’s said he recently suffered a stroke and is beginning to go blind. Because of that, he applied to receive a guide dog from a company out of California. According to police, the company traveled up to Sandpoint earlier in 2016 to try out one of their dogs with Yeager as a test run and things did not go well.
“After two days, they had some problems with some aggressive dogs in the area where Mr. Yeager lived at. And they took the dog back to California," said Sandpoint Police Captain Rick Bailey.
Friends of Yeager's said loose dogs from neighboring homes would charge at him and his service dog. The company determined that the situation would not be safe for Yeager or the dog. When Yeager's friends got wind of what happened, they reached out to Sandpoint Police.
"That if somebody needed an assistance animal, then they would be able to safely have that animal,” said Disability Action Center Northwest CEO Mark Leeper.
So the department stepped up patrols in the area and educated nearby dog owners about leash laws. Because of that, Yeager's neighborhood is safer. Now, a new service dog is on the way.
On Friday, Disability Action Center Northwest honored Sandpoint PD with an award during their Americans with Disabilities Act celebration. It is worth noting that the award is named after Tom McTevia. He was a prominent advocate for those with disabilities in North Idaho. McTevia's tragic death last year made local headlines.
While many would argue that Sandpoint PD went above and beyond in helping out Yeager, officers said that is not necessarily the case. They said this is not an unusual situation, but they are still happy to help out.