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Service Dog Access Denial at Starbucks, Twelve Corners Location, Brighton, NY

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Published on Aug 31, 2014

I have a disability. I have a service dog that is trained to mitigate my disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you cannot require ID, documentation, or a vest to be worn on a service dog. You must also allow a service dog in an establishment where food is served.

Normally, my service dog wears a vest when we are in businesses because it cuts down on questions. Today though, we were just going out for a very long walk. It was over 80* outside and I did not plan on going in any businesses so no vest, and I did not want it to contribute to him overheating anyway. That is my legally protected right to make that choice. After a long walk in the heat, I decided to stop in to Starbucks to grab a frappuchino. This man told me to "GET OUT" and started harassing me and my service dog. He told me my dog was not a service dog and that he had to be licensed as a service dog (another ADA violation). He stuck his hands in my dog's face and asked if he was male or female. I told him that was irrelevant, and placed my dog away from him as he was screaming at me. When I turned the camera on and he realized he was being filmed he took it down a notch. We left and I walked to my parents house and called the police, since denying access to a service dog team in NY is a civil rights violation. The officer who showed up informed me that Starbucks had already called them for a "customer trouble" call. Service dog handlers should not have to be subjected to this illegal and discriminatory behavior just because we require the use of a service dog for a disability. It is the business' responsibility to know the law.

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