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Dogs still unwelcome, but cop is savvy

January 15, 2009

This story comes from my friends, Larry & Carolyn Brick. Residents of Philadelphia, they are currently going west– to ski– and have their two “hearing ear” dogs with them (the current preferred terminology is service animal). I asked Larry to be a guest writer on my blog because his recent email to friends and family not only shows the expected– that people still don’t understand about the rights of people and their service animals; but also that police officers have been trained and are often savvy. Big thanks to all the disability rights organizations who have worked for years to train police forces nationwide about the rights of disabled people!

Larry and Carolyn’s story:

Larry & Carolyn Brick with their dogs, Tiki and Takao

Larry & Carolyn Brick with their dogs, Tiki and Takao

We’re at the Economy Motel in Nebraska City, NE. The woman in charge of registration refused to let us sign in because of the “No Pets” policy. She had a foreign accent and her daughter, approximately 11 or 12 years old, repeated what her mother said because I couldn’t understand her. She said that she couldn’t reach the manager and refused to read the ADA certificate on Takao, and she was willing to be sued. She said she was going to call the police. I replied, “please do that,” because she was breaking the law.

She called the police who arrived shortly. After explaining the situation to the officer he very nicely, and amazingly well, explained that it was a Federal Law and gave several examples of ADA with service animals– including the “No Pets” policy at Wal-Mart that was right behind the motel and how Wal-Mart allowed service animals. He even said that our dogs “…were not pets. They are service animals.” I was floored at how articulate and clear he was. He added that I could sue her and that’s not what she’d want to happen.

The officer suggested that she ask for a damage deposit to be returned if there was no damage. So, here we are, at an inexpensive motel, with an expensive $20 damage deposit that we expect to get back in the morning.

Conclusion: the next morning we got our deposit back, and when she came in the room to clean up while we started up the RV, she quickly came outside, smiling for the first time and waving “good bye,” perhaps because we left a tip on the table.

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