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Pennsylvania shelter denied blind man bed due to service dog, lawsuit alleges

The U.S. Justice Department is suing a western Pennsylvania homeless shelter it claims refused a bed to a blind man because officials there didn't want to accommodate his service dog.

The federal lawsuit filed in Pittsburgh says the blind man, Kenneth DeFiore, became so despondent that he laid down in a busy intersection and tried to commit suicide, but was instead rescued by police and taken to a hospital for a psychiatric exam.

Officials with the City Rescue Mission of New Castle did not immediately return a call and email seeking comment on a copy of the lawsuit. The shelter is located about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

The Justice Department says resident logs show the shelter had a spare bed during the three weeks in December 2011 that DeFiore was homeless.