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Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

My mom was kicked out of a grocery store because she had a service dog?

My mom has very bad type 2 Diabetes, she is on insulin and pills but it's still uncontrolled. Her blood sugar drops down into the 30s often. At this point, it has happened so many times that she no longer has symptoms alerting her that it's going too low before it's too late. She has a small dog that will let her know that her blood sugar is dropping, by licking her and nudging her. She talked to her Dr about it and he gave her a letter stating her condition and that the dog is essential for her health and safety, and is a service dog. She has not had any problems until today. She was in a grocery store and an employee told her to leave the store. My mom told her that it's a service dog and the lady said "No it's not, it's a companion. There's a difference. You need to leave the store" She then proceeded to show my mom something from the health dept about not allowing animals in the store. My mom showed her the letter stating it's a service dog, and the employee still told her it was a companion dog and told her to leave. My mom is so upset, and embarrassed. Isn't this against the law? This dog saved my moms life a few months ago when she woke her up in the middle of the night, my mom then checked her glucose and it was 34.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, suing should be your last choice because it is costly and extreme. Figure it would cost $5,000 to $10,000 to take such a case to court. If you win you might get attorney's fees back, but if you lose you might be ordered to pay the other side's attorney's fees.

    Step one is to ask to speak to the manager. Explain what the dog is trained to do and show them a copy of this document: http://www.ada.gov/svcanimb.htm

    Part of the problem is the size of your mother's dog. Lots of people try to claim pets as service dogs and owners of small dogs are particularly guilty of this. She should expect to have to deal with this because that's what life with a small service dog is like right now. Her dog also needs more training than alerting to her diabetes. Businesses are permitted to refuse access to dogs that are not sufficiently trained to behave professionally (not disruptive, not out of control, not a health or safety risk--which may mean not carrying them if it puts them above food where contamination can become an issue). Even small breed service dogs need to be able to heel and work from the floor when the situation warrants (around food). If anything, small dogs need to be better trained than their larger counterparts so they are taken seriously. So part of the problem (that the dog isn't taken seriously) isn't going to go away entirely and mom needs to practice dealing with it.

    If you don't get the response you want with the manager, then contact corporate headquarters.

    If you still don't get the response you want, then file a complaint with your state's human rights commission. You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, but on average it takes about 3 years to work its way through the system and the department may choose to take no action. On average a human rights commission will process the complaint within a year.

    Remember that the ADA is a civil, not criminal law. That means the police do not enforce it. It is enforced through mediation (through the human rights commission or DOJ), or litigation (suing). But most of the time education works.

    Education --> Mediation --> Litigation

    She can also refer them to this number for the Department of Justice (toll-free): 800 - 514 - 0301. On that line they answer questions about how the ADA applies both to people with disabilities and service dogs, and to businesses that serve the public.

    Source(s): I'm a disability advocate specializing in service dog issues.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I frequent this restaurant in ritzy Tribeca, in NYC. The owner is Greek and he has a sign posted on the entrance to the business which pretty much says to his customers that he is obligated by federal law to welcome service dogs without question. It's in the form of questions and answers. No tags, no registrations, not special garments, nothing. He did have to ask one lady to leave because her dog's barking became quiet loud. ( Apparently the smell steak was more than he could stand.)

    Anyway, tell your mom to give em hell. Stand up for her rights!

    Source(s): Q&A For Business Owners from Department of Justice "....Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. ..... Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, YOU MAY NOT insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability." http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm
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  • Mary
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    no both parents do not have to agree although i'm sure your mom won't really do that if your mom is on any part of that title or lease she can say who stays get a job though it's not that hard

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  • Chicky
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Your mother and her life saving service dog are both protected under the ADA or "American With Disabilities Act". Under the Department of Justice, anyone who has a service dog is to be accepted into any business.

    By federal law, (which takes priority over any state or local laws), the business owner is not allowed to "ask for proof". The dog can be dressed in any manner the owner sees fit. The animal does not have to wear a sign around the neck or a vest. The dog does not have to be registered.

    Since the store's employee violated a federal law, your mom can either file a complaint with the ADA http://www.ada.gov/t3compfm.htm. or get an attorney who can discuss her case which would be filed in the US district court.

    Your mom is fortunate that she has both you and her faithful service dog looking out for her.

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  • Penny
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    If your Mom has a certified service dog, from a register, the dog would have to wear a certain type of vest--indicating so---have a certain type of collar as well as a certified card which your Mom must carry with her at all times to prove it is a certified service dog.

    Your Mom should not of argued with a clerk at a grocery store--she should of immediately gone to the service desk and demanded to speak with the manager of the store, and then they should of decided what the out come would of been.

    Your Mom's arguing with some clerk caused others in the store to watch and there-fore embarrass herself.

    The clerk was correct in stating that animals are not permitted in stores --it is a health and safety violation----unless the animal is a certified service animal.

    Did your Mom leave the store with out an inquiry with management on hand?

    Does your Mom have the proper verifications for the use of a service dog? If not, then I would suggest she get them.

    As for her incident at the store--it should of been handled in a professional manner and from what you have stated--neither party did so. I would go with your Mom to the store and speak with management --show all the proper documents and find out if this incident will occur again if your Mom enters this store--or --go shopping else where.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Did the dog have any kind of vest or card or other identification as a service dog. I've raised service dog puppies for organizations and if I take them into stores or malls, they need to be wearing a vest with the proper markings. If she was just dragging her dog to the store, they have every right to kick her out. The store doesn't have to read every forged letter from a doctor. They just have to be sure that they won't be fined for allowing pets into a food establishment.

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  • 1 decade ago

    yes it is against the law. contact the stores corporate head quarters and tell them your mom will get an apology and possibly a gift card for for the store. it is a health issue to have animals in a store that sells food but because of the americans with disabilities act they have to accommodate you

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A service animal has to be registered. A letter from a doctor may not be sufficient (it certainly wasn't in your mother's encounter). The store clerk probably doesn't know your doctor from Adam and has probably been told to accept the registration only.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Dang you need to report and actually sue, that is messed up and not right! Its obviously a service dog!

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