Oregon Store Charged $60k for Refusing Entry to Service Dogs

Posted by Paige Cerulli

A store owner who denied entry to a woman and her service dogs is now facing hefty damages fees. 

The owner of a convenience store in Eugene, Oregon has to pay damages to a woman who was not allowed to enter the store with her two service dogs.

Kara Johnson, owner of the Duck Stop Market, has been ordered by the Oregon Court of Appeals to pay Michel Hilt-Hayden damages of $60,000.

In 2013, Johnson did not allow Hild-Hayden to enter the store with her two service dogs, states the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Hilt-Hayden has trouble both seeing and hearing, and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her service dogs are trained to keep her from walking into things, and they can also perform a chest compression procedure.

After being denied entry to the store with her dogs, Hilt-Hayden filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

An assistance dog is trained to aid or assist an individual with a disability. Many are trained by an assistance dog organization, or by their handler, often with the help of a professional trainer.

The Americans with Disabilities Act grants service animals the right to enter public facilities and accommodations where other animals are not allowed. Even if a building has a "no pets" policy, it cannot legally deny entrance to service animals.

Business owners are allowed to ask two questions to anyone with a service animal:

  1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

While service animals are granted rights to enter public facilities, confusion has arisen because of the recent surge in the popularity of emotional support animals and even fake service dogs. Unlike service animals, which are trained to perform specific tasks to assist their handlers, emotional support animals undergo no formal training and do not perform specific tasks aside from offering support by their presence. They should not be granted the same accessibility that service animals are granted. However, there's a lot of confusion about the differences between the two and issues like the one in Oregon arise.

 

Do you know anyone who is helped by a service animal? Tell us in the comments below.

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Oregon Store Charged $60k for Refusing Entry to Service Dogs