Georgia’s largest hospital is facing a lawsuit alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it donated dogs to two of its own staff members, CBS News has learned.
The St. Peter’s Animal Hospital in Smyrna, Georgia, has been cited by the American Civil Liberties Union for violating the ADA.
It was sued in November after the Georgia Department of Human Services (GDHHS) alleged that the hospital failed to provide the animals with adequate training, which violated the ADA, and that it allowed the animals to be exposed to unnecessary risk.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status for the two St. Paul’s Animal Hospitals in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.
The GDHHS said it will not respond to the suit until it has been reviewed by a federal judge, CBS Atlanta reports.
The hospital’s owners, Dr. Thomas P. Schoettl and Dr. Richard H. Condon, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.
A spokeswoman for the GDHSS said in a statement that the agency “does not comment on pending litigation.”
A statement from the hospital said the complaint is the result of a review of several cases in which individuals and their pets were exposed to serious injury or death.
The hospital said it has already been fully reimbursed by the state for the veterinary services it provided to the patients.
The ACLU of Georgia also has filed a complaint in federal court, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The organization said it was notified of the lawsuit Wednesday and that the two hospitals are being sued for violating a federal law.
“In no way should the hospital’s actions violate the Americans With Disabilities act,” the statement said.
“The hospital has a fiduciary responsibility to provide care to the animals in its care and ensure that those animals’ safety and well-being are protected.”
The ACLU said the dogs were not euthanized.
The agency also has called on the GDIHS to provide training for the staff to properly euthanize pets.
The Savannah Animal Health Center in Fulton County is one of the hospitals cited by CBS Atlanta.
The center was not immediately available for comment.
A spokesman for the Fulton County Department of Health Services did not return a message seeking comment.