A great story of empowerment by our client Brian and his SD Faith. He is leaning forwarding, ensuring access rights of all handlers and their beloved Service Dogs.
“Hi Laurie, I had already been let into the Copper Top restaurant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when one of the security/doormen came up to me and my dog from the back and said “You and your dog will have to leave. ” He said something to the effect of “You don’t even need that dog.” I’ve been in this place several times with absolutely no problems with my SD Faith – even the doorman before recognized me and Faith and had absolutely no problems. I had the business card from the DOJ that had all of the laws about Service Dogs, and I asked him to please read them. He said he wasn’t reading anything, and that we needed to get out and get out now.
I asked “let’s not take this to that point that I have to call the police.” He seemed very hostile from the start, and, of course this made him even more hostile. He also made a comment that I did not need a Service Dog because I was in there the night before without one. That was because Faith had surgery several days before and was not up to going out, of course. As you and I know my medical condition and my Service Dog’s medical condition is none of his business.
Sadly enough, I did call the police and they took the restaurant’s side! Two officers from the Tuscaloosa City Police Department came and said that any private business could kick anybody out for any condition whatsoever. They called the next officer in charge, and he had the same attitude! He asked what he could do to make me happy and asked if he would please just read the laws!
All of this was this past Friday night approximately 8:30 PM (Nov 28th). On Monday, I called Lieutenant M. at the Tuscaloosa Police Department – he also said any private business can kick anyone out it anytime regardless of having a Service Dog or any type of disability!
My Service Dog, Faith has been a complete Savior to me since I’ve gotten her! She’s done nothing but help me along the way; I couldn’t get along without her. I’ve been completely depressed and had anxiety attacks ever since this is happened!!! I feel that she and I are going to be a target anywhere we go!! I’m afraid to take her anywhere because I feel I am going to be run out of every little business that I go into!!
I thought I was calling the police department for help, but yet they’re the ones who helped run me off and took the side of the other people who were kicking me out -and gave me false hope for me and anyone who is disabled or has a Service Dog! Not just with the doorman, Copper Top, Tuscaloosa, but everywhere.
I did talk to the Department of Justice on Monday, and the lady I spoke with did confirm that the Tuscaloosa Police Department and the Coppertop and Mr. Jones were in complete violation of the laws and would be sending me a packet in the mail ASAP.
UPDATE: 8 December 2014 – Brian met with the owner of Copper Top
The meeting went extremely well. The owner of Copper Top was great! It was entirely 1 employee trying to “Flex his muscle”! The owner was wanting details and was very apologetic and invited me and Faith back! He guaranteed he’d take care of the employee. Cherry (a Service Dog Express Trainer) was such great help on the phone the other day!! I had built up so much anxiety and depression since the incident, and she made me feel much better!!!! She provided me with tons of info! Thanks to all of you!! I am still going to schedule a meeting with the chief of police to try to get local laws in line with the ADA or to get them to realize their street level officers are not up to date on laws. Lastly, the owner mentioned us working together to find a charity to help fund together !!!! Who would’va thought?