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VIDEO: Vietnam vet’s service dog stolen at FL mall in broad daylight – search continues

Old Town, Kissimmee, FL Gary Bogdon/ Flickr)
November 06, 2018

A Vietnam veteran’s service dog was stolen from a Florida mall on Oct. 28 and surveillance cameras caught it all.

Joseph Hanson, a 67-year-old veteran who suffers from PTSD, was at the Old Town outdoor shopping mall in Kissimmee with his two Pomeranian service dogs, Fox 5 reported.

A woman approached him and started a dispute, then a second woman showed up from behind the vet, took one of the dogs off the leash, and walked off. Watch the footage below:

“She got in my face. Cussing and swearing,” Hanson said.

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Deputies said the veteran did not see the second woman unleash the dog, according to NBC 4 News. The six-pound service dog is 21-years-old and named Kira.

Hanson said Kira is not in good health and is partially deaf and going blind, CBS 47 reported. He added that he and Star, his other service dog, are worried and very concerned.

There is a $1,000 cash reward offered for information that can lead to recovering Kira. Osceola County authorities are confident that the video will help get the dog back and also to identify the suspect.

Service dogs for those vets like Hanson are beneficial to those with PTSD by spotting potential triggers that could elevate stress levels or heighten anxiety, according to Fox News. In general, they provide comfort and companionship.

Korean War Navy vet, Jack Steinman, knows Hanson’s pain since his service dog was stolen in September, KXLY reported.

Steinman went to an Auto Zone store in Glendale, Ariz. to quickly grab some brake pads and left his poodle mix service dog, Lady Bug, in the car with the air on and when he returned just moments later, his car and dog were gone.

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Lady Bug is trained with voice and hand signals.

Steinman’s wife has passed away and his boys have families of their own.”I don’t have nobody else,” he said.

“Please bring her home but don’t be mean to her. Please just bring her home or let me know or whatever — but don’t be mean to her,” said Steinman.

PTSD symptoms include nightmares, avoiding situations, being easily startled, and loss of interest in activities, according to The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Some vets begin to have PTSD symptoms soon after they return from war, some don’t see symptoms until they are older.

Enjoying the benefits of a service dog for sufferers of PTSD is often a welcome alternative to turning to alcohol or drugs for relief.