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‘Service Dog of the Year’ denied entry on American Airlines flight

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Photo courtesy of Jason and Axel Facebook page

(September 23, 2015) – A Marine Corps veteran says his service dog was not allowed on an American Airlines flight with him at the Los Angeles International Airport.

According to CBS LA, Capt. Jason Haag (Ret.) calls his service dog named Axel a life-saver. In fact, the reason that Haag and Axel were in Los Angeles was because Axel was given the “Service Dog of the Year” award in a ceremony over the weekend.

But their celebratory weekend was ruined Sunday when Axel was denied entry on a return flight home to Virginia.

Haag had this to say about the incident on his Facebook page:

 Well ladies and gentlemen we have been denied access and not been allowed to board our plane by American Airlines due to us not being able to prove that Axel is a Service Dog. Well I answered all their questioned but didn’t provide “paperwork” because 1) it’s illegal to ask for and against federal law 2) I don’t carry it because I’ve never had issue 3) I called ahead and everything was fine 4) but I did provide an ID to try and appease them. But to no avail. Wouldn’t allow us on the plane. Mind I made it through security and had been waiting in front of the gate for 2 hours in clear view of them. They pulled me out of line as I tried to board. They had my wife in tears in front of 200 people as they brought more managers over to try and bully us. I’m not gonna stand for this.

Soon, Hagg’s Facebook post went viral. It has gotten almost 10,000 shares in the past two days.

On Monday night, CBS LA received a statement from “NCIS” star Pauley Perrette. She was a presenter at the awards show where Axel was honored. “Ironic that part of what we were advocating for at the fundraiser is for service/military dogs to be flown home with their human partners, as many are left behind. This is so sad and upsetting,” Perrette said.

American Airlines also issued a statement, admitting it was a big mistake: “We take these matters very seriously and are looking into what exactly occurred. We have apologized to Capt. Haag and his family, and are very appreciative of his service to our country.”

Haag and Axel finally made it home and posted this on Facebook:

We are on a plane & headed home. Thank you all for your support. We appreciate everyone letting American Airlines know how they feel. We plan to use this incident to educate and spread further awareness about service dogs, Veterans, and people with disabilities. Thank you to the American Humane Association for taking care of us! ‪#‎jasonandaxel ‪#‎istandwithAxel ‪#‎k9sforwarriors ‪#‎AmericanHumaneAssociation