Here is a very interesting story about service animals and places of public accommodation:
Christy Gardner, who was a driven athlete at Edward Little High School in Auburn and at Long Island College in New York, found basic training at Fort Leonard Wood a breeze.
She cruised through military police training before being deployed to the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea.
But she suffered a traumatic brain injury during police operations there, and even the most basic tasks became challenging, even dangerous. “My medical records said I was not allowed to bathe alone, in case I had a seizure,” said Gardner, 28.
With brain damage that makes her prone to terrible seizures, Gardner lays credits for her ability to live alone squarely at the four furry feet of her golden retriever, Moxie.
Moxie, a service dog, can sense her owner’s grand mal seizures 10 minutes before they hit, and warn her to sit on the ground so she doesn’t injure herself falling.
Moxie can pull blankets off Gardner so she doesn’t choke during a seizure in bed, and is trained to roll her on her side and dial 911 on a special, large-button cell phone. She even can open the door, run to a neighbor’s home and ring the doorbell for help in an emergency.
So Gardner was startled when she entered a Portland convenience store last summer to get Moxie some water and the owner ordered them to leave, then walked toward them, his hands outstretched, to herd them from the store.
Gardner was frightened, mostly for Moxie. “If something happened to her physically, I have to find a live-in nurse or I have to live in a (nursing) home,” Gardner said.
An additional story:
An Aurora man has sued the International House of Pancakes, saying employees at the popular breakfast restaurant discriminated against him because he uses a service dog.
The suit, filed in Kane County Court, alleges that Ricky Lee Schopp went to the IHOP restaurant on Augusta Way in Aurora on June 30, 2009, with his mother and his service dog, Phato. Schopp is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair. Phato, a Labrador retriever, helps with certain skills, like opening doors.
At first, Schopp, his mother and the dog were seated at a table by the IHOP hostess, the suit says. However, not long after they sat down, an IHOP employee demanded they move to a different section of the restaurant that had no other customers, forcing them to eat alone, the suit says. The employee said the reason for the changing tables was that Schopp had a dog with him.
After being informed that it was a service dog, the employee still insisted they move or leave the restaurant, the suit alleges. Schopp chose to leave the restaurant.
You can also read this additional story of a Man from Aurora suing an IHOP for the same denial of service From: the Beacon News.
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