New Castle man sues homeless shelter, says turned away because of seeing eye dog
A New Castle homeless shelter turned away a blind man because they couldn't accommodate his seeing eye dog, according to a federal discrimination lawsuit filed Friday.
Kenneth DeFiore, age not available, filed the lawsuit against the City Rescue Mission of New Castle, a faith-based shelter that provides temporary lodging for the homeless, and James Henderson, a program manager at the shelter. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a similar lawsuit later in the day against the shelter and Henderson on DeFiore's behalf.
According to the complaint, DeFiore — diagnosed with blindness in 2006 — became homeless in November 2011 when his landlord evicted him from his apartment. A month later, he called City Rescue Mission to request a bed, but Henderson told him they would not accept him as long as “Gabby,” DeFiore's service-trained Labrador retriever, accompanied him.
Records from the shelter show there was at least one vacant bed available at the shelter every night between Dec. 1 and Dec. 22, the lawsuit says.
Henderson did not return a call seeking comment.