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Court Date Set For Retired Cop Fighting To Keep Service Dog

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Jim And Peggy Sak

Retired Chicago Police Officer Jim Sak and his wife, Peggy, got married in 2009 at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 12/27/11 5:58 a.m.

AURELIA, Iowa (CBS) – A disabled former Chicago police officer who’s been forced to give up his service dog now has a court date scheduled to try to get the dog back.

Snickers is a pit bull mix and, since retired Chicago Police Officer Jim Sak had a stroke in 2008, Snickers has been his service dog.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports


But Sak and his wife moved to Aurelia, Iowa, in November so Sak’s wife could take care of her elderly mother and Aurelia bans pit bulls. That includes Snickers.

Sak filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Aurelia last week, claiming the pit bull ban violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We’re lost without him around,” Jim sak’s wife, Peggy Sak, said last week. “Jim is a lot more stoic than I am; it has to do with his training, I think, as a police officer. But we’re just flummoxed by the whole thing.”

Federal law guarantees people with disabilities the right to service dogs, regardless of breed.

Aurelia outlawed pit bulls in 2008, after one bit a meter reader. But that does not mean the town can steamroll over rights guaranteed by federal law, the Animal Farm Foundation.

The advocacy group the Animal Farm Foundation was hopeful there would be an emergency hearing and that Snickers might be reunited with Sak in time for Christmas.

That did not happen, but Sak tells WBBM Newsradio that a court date has been set for Wednesday.

The mayor of Aurelia, Iowa, has declined to comment.

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