MARYVILLE (WATE) – A Seymour woman says she and her husband were told to leave a Maryville business because of their service dog. They’ve now filed a complaint under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Jody Harrison-Grabber says she has taken her service dog Daisy with her everywhere.
“She goes with Jody to the cancer center; we have gone to doctor’s offices,” said Jody Harrison-Grabber’s husband Jim. We have gone to hospitals.”
Jody Harrison-Grabber lives with a disability that causes her movement to be unstable. Her two-year-old service dog Daisy allows her to be able to walk. She went with her husband to the Shanks Oral Surgery in Maryville. The couple says they encountered a problem they had never had.
“The receptionist stood up out of her chair, looked over the counter and said, ‘Oh no you can’t have that dog in here. You’ve got to get her out of here,’” said Jim Grabber. “Jody said, ‘She’s a service dog; she’s got her vest on; she’s under control.”
Jim Grabber says the receptionist still made them leave.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act website, service dogs are allowed in any area the general public is allowed to go.
“Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.”
The Grabbers say they left the building but were denied access to the only exit without stairs.
“She was able to lean on a post and hang on to Daisy and I had to get down one step and she had to basically fall over on me to get her off the steps,” said Jim Grabber.
WATE 6 On Your Side contacted Shanks Oral Surgery multiple times by phone and in person to try to get their side of the story, but was they did not want to talk at this time. A representative on the ADA hotline says they cannot determine whether Shanks Oral Surgery had the right to make the dog leave without a formal complaint.
Jody Harrison-Grabber says she has already filed the complaint and should hear back in three months.