Woman claims she was denied service because of service dog - WNEM TV 5

Woman claims she was denied service because of service dog

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

An Essexville woman is furious after she and her service dog were turned away from a Bay City restaurant.

The woman said she was berated by the manager and when she tried to reason with her, customers began yelling at her.

For seven and a half years, Christina Scott and her companion Alice have been inseparable.

Alice is a certified service dog. She goes everywhere with Scott who suffers from disability.

On Monday, they entered the Tropical Smoothie Café in Bay City. Scott said they received a rather cold welcome.

“She came up and asked me for papers. And she kept asking me for papers. And I asked her, ‘what papers are you talking about,’” Scott said.

She was puzzled because she knows that people with service dogs are not required to show any paper work.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation or require special identification for the dog.

The owner of the restaurant said Scott didn’t have a vest on her service dog, but Scott says otherwise.

“It’s not accurate at all. She was wearing this vest. I had just left class and we were driving home,” Scott said.

Scott believes she was being discriminated against by the staff.

Tropical Smoothie issued the following statement:

We apologize for any miscommunication with this guest in our franchised location in Bay City, Michigan. Service animals are always welcome at Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants. The local franchisee is taking immediate steps to ensure his staff provides a great experience to all guests.

“It’s not their business to know why I have an animal. I wouldn’t ask someone else about their medical history. I need it and they have to take my word for it. That’s the law,” Scott said.

Scott said she reached out to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and received word from Sheriff Troy Cunningham that the matter will be looked into.

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