Woman Asks For Apology After Hospital Rejects Service Dog
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 8, 2006
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TEXAS--On the morning of April 21, Karen McKinney went to North Hills Hospital to visit a friend that had a leg injury.
But when McKinney arrived with her in-home aide, Charlene Roberson, and her service dog, Greta, hospital employees told her she couldn't bring the dog inside.
"We kept telling them she was a service dog," Roberson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "They kept saying no. I finally left her [McKinney] at the hospital and drove back to Fort Worth with Greta."
After Roberson returned with papers identifying Greta as a service dog, officials said it was okay to bring the 6-year-old Gordon setter mix inside.
McKinney, 53, said it was the first time in three years that she was not allowed to bring Greta into a public facility.
McKinney has since filed a formal complaint with the North Richland Hills Police Department.
"I want an apology from the hospital," McKinney said. "And for the staff to be educated on service dogs."
A hospital spokesperson refused to discuss the specifics of the case, but told the Star-Telegram that they do their best to accommodate service dogs.
Under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses and public
facilities must allow people with disabilities to bring service animals into
their premises in the same areas as all other customers or visitors are
allowed. Owners of service animals do not have to provide proof of the animal's
identification or certification.
"Service dog barred, woman complains" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
"Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business" (U.S. Department of Justice)