Veteran asked to leave local fitness center

HOLT, Mich. (WLNS) –  U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Johnnie Trout wanted to do what many people this time of year do, get a gym membership and start working out.

But today when he went to the New Life Fitness in Holt to ask about a membership,Trout says he and his service dog Raven were asked to leave.

“He may be a privately owned business but he is open to the public. Open to me Johnnie Trout and my service dog Raven.”

But, New Life Fitness Owner Grace Pierce says she and her husband never meant any harm and were simply unaware of the new law.

“We were both very unaware we’ve been in the business for 23 years and we’ve never had a request before.”

“We’re not trying to discriminate against him we just wanted to know more, and probably a lot of people don’t know about these things.”

But, Trout says New Life Fitness should have known about this pending law way before he walked through the front door.

“It’s not my responsibility to tell a business owner what the rules  and regulations are my responsibility is to maintain my service animal in a professional manner.”

But New Life Fitness says they had reasons why they were unsure about Trout’s request.

“In the cardio area it’s pretty narrow in there we don’t even allow members to bring their gym bags and their coats.”

But, Trout says it’s his obligation to stand-up and do the right thing even when no one else is looking.

“This was wrong and what we need to do is educate so these kinds of mistakes don’t happen again.”

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