FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – When a Fort Worth judge ruled in November that Steven Woods’ pitbull was dangerous, Woods testified that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a tour in Iraq, and his dog helps him cope.
Shortly thereafter, news organizations caught wind of the veteran’s story. In order to keep Mimi the pitbull, Woods would have to pay for safeguards to prevent another attack. Woods, who claimed to live on a monthly $779 disability check, wasn’t able to cover the costs.
So North Texas animal lovers stepped forward, raising more than $17,000 for him to offset the costs. One problem: the Arkansas National Guard believes Woods may be a fraud.
“We have no documentation to indicate that this individual ever served overseas with the Arkansas National Guard,” said Capt. Chris Heathscott.
On Veteran’s Day, a two-day court battle ended with a judge labeling Mimi a “dangerous dog.”
The judge gave Woods 15 days to pay a $500 dangerous dog registration fee, the impounding fees of $12 a day for six weeks and the cost to neuter Mimi, plus build a six-foot fence and purchase a $100,000 liability insurance policy.
“I got bit on the arm and the hip,” said Linda Johnson. “I really got hurt and I don’t want no one else to get bit like me.”
Woods was a National Guard member who was honorably discharged. However, there are no records that show he ever served overseas in Iraq. Though in May of 2009, police records show he punched a Grand Prairie police officer in the mouth and remains on probation.
“I was in Iraq for approximately three-and-a-half months,” Woods said in an interview last week. “An IED went off. It was three-to-four trucks away from me. The explosion threw me from the truck.”
Woods’ lawyers took to the web after the November reports, to spread the word and raise money. They have since stopped representing him, convinced he never went to war.
The Metroplex Animal Coalition, which collected donations, has placed the money in a trust and offered to return the donations. “For us, it was always about saving the dog’s life,” said Jonnie England, a spokeswoman with the MAC. “We have no regrets about getting involved. We took the information we were given in good faith. We didn’t solicit donations, but did agree to collect them.”
CBS 11 News visited Woods’ house to find some answers, but no one answered the door. Woods has yet to return multiple phone calls requesting comment after an interview last week.
“To me, as a former soldier, that’s about as low as you can get to, me, myself,” Woods said last week, when confronted about what kind of person would fabricate a story about serving overseas.
It has not been determined if Woods faces any charges for lying to a judge about serving in Iraq. Click here if you donated to this fund and would like your money back.