2006_07_ratterrier.jpgThis is probably the first September 11-related lawsuit involved nudity. Queens resident Mark DelCore is suing various Fire Island officials for the right to have his rat terrier along when he sunbathes nude. Why does he want to sunbathe nude? The Smoking Gun explains:

DelCore said that he was in a lower Manhattan gym on the morning of the World Trade Center attack and, when the planes hit, was forced to leave the facility while still wet. After the first tower collapsed, DelCore said that he was covered with a "light dusting" of an unknown substance (which attached to his wet skin) as he ran north from the scene. His resulting condition, which he said does not have a name, led to him going on disability from his job with a New York bank.

Yikes. DelCore says he also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and needs to sunbathe nude since his skin needs sun exposure. And the beach at Fire Island is one of the only ones where he can legally sunbathe nude, and he needs his rat terrier, Cheekies, because the canine provides "emotional support and comfort." DelCore considers Cheekies, who hasn't been registered as a service animal, to be a service dog for his therapeutic qualities. But Fire Island officials say they only allow seeing eye dogs. One assistance dog training company told Newsday, "There is a very clear line between therapy animals and service animals. Service animals are taught to perform very specific tasks for disabled individuals." True, but animals do have many therapeutic qualities; for instance, some pets apparently lower people's blood pressure because they are calming.

You can read the lawsuit at The Smoking Gun. DelCore, who was a Gay Games body builder, wants sensitivity training for the Chief Park Ranger at Fire Island, as well as the change to the animal policy.