Cheryl Dolan, 56, and her husband Dale went to meet family members for dinner at Tamarind Indian Restaurant in Saskatoon on Dec. 15. Also in tow was Cheryl's guide dog, Hudson. Cheryl, 56, has had service dogs ever since Type 1 diabetic retinopathy caused her to fully lose her vision 27 years ago.
Dolan said when she arrived at the restaurant she was denied entry and told she couldn't bring the dog in.
The news story was shared by the TikTok account for @cbcsasknews and people are rightfully outraged. Saskatchewan law guarantees a blind person the legal right to be accompanied by a specially trained dog guide in public accommodations and facilities.
The CBC reports, "Dolan said that when they arrived at the restaurant, "the two young ladies at the front desk said 'No, no, no, you can't bring a dog in.'"
"I've had that kind of experience before, but in the past, I've always just said 'yes, it is a rule of Canada that we are allowed to bring our seeing eye dogs into any public place,'" she told CBC on Monday.
Dolan said the two women soon returned with a man who appeared to be in charge, and that wouldn't even look at her registration card for her service dog Hudson or listen to explanations from her and another patron about how restaurants are legally obligated to allow guide dogs inside. They just flat out denied the couple and Hudson entry.
The couple left the restaurant and filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. The restaurant released a statement which read:
"We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to the couples and their service dog for the unfortunate incident that occurred at Tamarind," said the statement, which noted it is increasing staff training around service animals."
They also invited the Dolans to return to the restaurant and dine free of charge.
Know Your Rights When It Comes to Service Dogs
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 allowed to go. There's no gray area here.
Staff or customer service people are allowed to ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
These people can't ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
From the ADA website: Individuals who believe that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA. You can find additional information here.
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