Woman with service dog asked to leave coffee shop

Posted at: 08/12/2013 7:04 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Lydia Pollard has type 1 diabetes and has had her service dog, Sampson, for eight months. She usually has no problem taking him out - unless she's going to a restaurant.

She’s questioned several times if he can enter a restaurant.

"We'll go in and asked to be seated and whoever is the hostess will say 'Oh well, I have to ask my manager' or 'You have to sit outside.' or something like that and it's like 'No we don't you don't need to ask your manager," she said.

But her biggest misunderstanding came after she and Sampson were kicked out of Satellite Coffee.

Lydia said when came here for coffee last week, the woman behind the counter asked to see her papers to prove that Sampson was really a service dog. When she said she didn't have his papers because he was wearing his vest, that's when the woman asked her to leave.

"It’s just really discouraging is what it is, it hurts a little bit and it's really discouraging." She said.

And it's not just discouraging it's illegal.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs must be allowed in businesses that serve the public, like restaurants.

Lydia says she doesn't want to take action against Satellite Coffee, she just wants the public to know that service dogs and their owners shouldn't be treated like this.

"Yes, there are service dogs; yes, they exist; yes, they're fine and you don't need to treat us any differently or look at the dog any differently," she said.

Satellite Coffee did issue a statement saying there was some confusion about whether Sampson was properly identified. They said they do plan on reviewing their ADA regulations and it wasn’t their intent to kick Lydia out. Lydia said someone from Satellite has contacted her to set up a meeting about the misunderstanding.  

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