I have a Service dog that I raised and trained myself, which I'm grateful that by law I am allowed to do. I've never been horribly concerned over access in the 7 years I've had him, as there would only be a dispute now and then, and usually pretty easily an understanding is reached.
Well, lately it seems to have gotten worse. Two years ago I had a horrible dispute with a restaurant, who demanded all these illegal questions. That one was brought on because I had his vest at home, with a busted buckle. We went to court over it just last month, and to my horror, I lost. They used the tactic of saying my dog was dirty, smelly, and wandered around sniffing tables. Plus that I was giving "attitude" and disruptive. (Gee, I wonder why?) I have no idea why the judged ruled the way he did. He said it was not having enough burden of proof. My lawyer thinks it was our hostile witness, who changed his story from his deposition, which said it was because I had a dog with me, to my behavior.
Now this past weekend, I went to an art event, that's sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, and benefits people with disabilities. Some volunteer in charge of the entrance demanded to see "paperwork" on my dog. I tell him he's owner trained, that's my right, and he isn't allowed to ask for certification. He said he begged to differ. Tried to say this wasn't the public. Mocked my law cards, asking where I got them, off the internet? And get this, the guy was a lawyer, and claimed he was an ADA one! (for businesses, though). The security off duty cop there was no help, either, saying they would physically remove me. I insist they call the real police. Meanwhile, I drop the laminated law card, and Borias goes to pick it up for me. It's really hard to pick up flat thin objects, but he did it. All these folks around, and nobody at all was understanding. Nobody wanted to get involved. How humiliating can you get...
Well, almost an hour later, they suddenly seemed to be granting me access, though vague about it. The lawyer volunteer said that it seemed I wanted to be arrested and carted off, and he didn't want me to have the satisfaction or something. Ugh. I wasn't sure what to do at that point, so I did go in, with just an hour left for the show. I filed a police report with the campus police, as it was held on a university.
But now this is an strange situation. I would love for this jerk to be penalized for his behavior, but you can't pursue civil penalties against an individual I'm told. That means it would have to be the Kiwanis that are responsible. A charity that helps people with disabilities! It's not their fault, I'm sure this guy was acting on his own understanding. Er..misunderstanding. I guess I should just write a letter to the Kiwanis and let them know what happened.
I have detailed posts on these incidents on my blog.
Tami and Borias