Sunday, my friend and I entered a Pontiac discount store with our service dogs. We were told by the door greeter our dogs didn't have service vests so no entry. My friend quietly asked to see a manager, pulled out her dog's federal identification card and explained he couldn't wear a vest due to shrapnel.
His federal ID card states he is a service dog and a vest is not needed. He does have a special orange and white collar signifying medical problems and sight impairment of the handler. He has special tags explaining he is a seizure alert dog. These were all shown to the manager but to no avail.
While my disability is not obvious, I have issues maintaining balance. My dog helps support my left side. I do not have a service vest but do carry legal documentation with me. I didn't get a chance to show it.
Not only did the store manager refuse entrance to our dogs but security and police were called to the front, embarrassingly enough. Never did we raise our voices or try to argue. My friend quietly took both our dogs to the car and had to make her way back inside unaided, which actually put her in danger because of sight impairment.
The public needs to be made aware. The ADA states service vests are not required identification! Anyone can purchase a service vest. Legal documentation is real proof and should be asked for to avoid abuse of "service animals welcome."
Debra Vaughn, Chenoa