KTIV - A disabled former police officer has to give up his service dog because the town of Aurelia, Iowa has a ban on pit bulls.
In 2008, retired Chicago police officer Jim Sak suffered a stroke that left him disabled with limited use of his right hand and leg.
"If Jim is walking his right leg has a tendency to, the ankle, flip in," said Peggy Leifer, Jim's wife.
To keep himself from falling and hurting himself, Jim got Snickers, a certified service dog that keeps his balance while walking, gets him up, and even goes for help.
"All Jim has to do is say 'Go get mommy' and the dog comes and finds me," Leifer said.
In nearly five years together, the two became more than buddies; they became equals.
"He's our kid, he works his tail off for us," Sak said.
But in November, shortly after moving to Aurelia to be closer to Peggy's ailing mother, Jim's heart was broken. Snickers, a pit bull mix, was banned by the city's dog ordinance. Jim's best friend now sits in a kennel outside of town suffering from anxiety.
"He's got hives on his under side. His hair is just falling out," Sak said.
jim has suffered too, he's fallen twice and his need for supervision is stretching his wife thin.
"I am unable to go off and leave Jim alone, because if he does fall, I'll come home and maybe find him on the floor," Leifer said.
The family is fighting to get Snickers back, though. It's filled a lawsuit against the city claiming Snickers is cleared by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"That dog's my life, you don't just take him away from me," Sak said.
Calls to Aurelia, Iowa officials were not returned.
There's a hearing on the matter in federal court in Sioux City next Wednesday. The Sak family was reunited with Snickers briefly Friday morning, before the dog was sent out of state to be put into foster care until the case is resolved.