Business & Finance
Legally Blind Student Denied Access to Insomnia Cookies in Uptown Greenville Due to Service Dog
Landon Stevenson, a legally blind student in East Greenville, was left feeling humiliated after he was denied entry to Insomnia Cookies in Uptown Greenville due to his service dog.
As a user of a service animal, Stevenson has the right to enter and access establishments that are open to the public under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
However, when he attempted to enter Insomnia Cookies, he was told that he could not bring his service dog into the eatery. Despite informing the staff that his service animal is legally allowed to accompany him, he was denied access to the establishment.
“I explained numerous times that he is a service dog, but they would not let me in the store,” said Stevenson.
Despite Stevenson’s protests, the staff refused to let him in. Stevenson then called for backup, requesting additional officers to enforce his legal rights.
The Greenville Police Department has stated that businesses are responsible for providing proper training on ADA laws, and there is no excuse for denying access to a person with a service animal.
After the officers arrived on the scene and explained the legal ramifications of denying entry to someone with a service dog, the manager of Insomnia Cookies apologized and admitted that the staff was wrong.
“Service dogs are not pets, they are working animals that provide a necessary service for people with disabilities,” said Chief of Police, Ken Miller.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, entities with “no pets” policies must modify their policy to allow service animals into their facilities. This means that any business open to the public must allow a customer with a service animal to enter.
Stevenson’s experience at Insomnia Cookies highlights a wider issue of discrimination against people with disabilities and their service animals. The National Council on Disability has found that discrimination in public places and businesses is still a prevalent problem for service animal users.
“I want to make sure that everyone knows that service animals are allowed in establishments that are open to the public,” said Stevenson. “This experience has been humiliating, but I will not let it stop me from advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and their service animals.”
As advocates for disability rights continue to fight for greater awareness and understanding of the legal rights of service animal users, incidents like Stevenson’s experience at Insomnia Cookies serve as a reminder that there is still much work to be done to create a more inclusive society for all people.
In conclusion, businesses must be trained on the legal rights of service animal users while service animal users must be tenacious in the defense of their legal rights. Through a combination of awareness, understanding, and enforcement of the law, we can build a society that promotes equality and access to all.