We’ve posted before about people with service dogs who were asked to leave restaurants and such that had policies against dogs. Every time, readers have been astonished, wondering how anyone could be so clueless or would be willing to buck the American with Disabilities Act. Here’s yet another example of this cluelessness, but on a whole ‘nother level.
A woman who attempted to visit a new Ann Taylor boutique in Salt Lake City was told she could not come in. Becky andrews was told that her dog, Cricket, was not allowed. Here’s the kicker: Andrews is legally blind. This is not a case where the nature of the service dog is in question. Here’s how Andrews described the experience on her blog:
We were nearby City Creek and I have been wanting to visit the new Ann Taylor store. There is an upcoming birthday girl that I was hoping to find a little something, and also just might find something fun for me to take on our trip. Steve parked near the entrance to stay on his call while I walked into the store. From a quick shopping excursion with Natalie I knew close to the proximity of where it was located. Cricket and I navigated into the store. I was so excited. Unfortunately, I was greeted by a clerk with her first words indicating I needed to leave the store with my dog. I politely explained that she was a guide dog and allowed to be here. She indicated again dogs were not allowed and she would need to talk to her store manager. I began to feel like my exciting find of the Ann Taylor store was not going so well. Unfortunately, the manager also was not too helpful and indicated that dogs were not allowed. I knew there were other people there as well, and I felt really alone. No one stood up and said, this is a guide dog she can be in this store. I again explained she was a guide dog and allowed to be here. At this point, I found myself just wanting to leave and go to another store where I was welcome. I turned and said, Cricket outside. Its not been the easiest of past few weeks and I couldn’t do anymore. I walked out feeling pretty sad. One of the clerks came out after me and said she was sorry, she liked dogs. I explained that it isn’t about whether one likes or doesn’t like dogs. Cricket is my guide dog and thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act she is allowed to enter Ann Taylor and any other public place that we want to go. She is my eyes. I called Steve. As so often is the case, I said where are you and he was walking toward me :). He gave me a hug as I told him what had happened. I began to cry.
Ann Taylor initially tried to claim that Cricket was not in her harness, so the employees couldn’t know that she was a service dog, but the company admitted the next day that this was false.