A woman said she and her service dog were forced to leave an Albertson’s grocery store in McKinney.
Caroline Little said she and her dog, Ash, frequently visit the store without issue. But Monday night, the store manager approached her and said dogs were not allowed and that she should leave.
Little said that Monday was the first time she had gone to the store, located off Central Expressway, late at night. She said she and her husband explained to the manager that the dog is a service dog. Even after the explanation, she said the manager threatened to call the cops.
An Albertson’s spokeswoman said the company regrets that the situation occurred and has taken steps to ensure that all employees are aware that service dogs are allowed in all of their stores. The store director has also spoken with Little.
Little, 25, has suffered from asthma attacks since she was 9 years old. She calls Ash a life-saver.
“Ash can detect when I’m going to have an asthma attack, and will either lay on me, lift her paw up and alert,” Little said. "When you have asthma, you basically don't have enough air in your lungs to breathe, and it's scary.”
Her doctor recommended she get a medically-trained service dog. Ash has a tag that shows she is listed with the U.S. Service Dog Registry.
The manager asked Little if Ash had her tags and certificate. Little told him Ash doesn’t need to wear the tags. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, "Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.”
The ADA also does not require service animals to wear a vest, identification tag, or a specific harness.
“He didn't care,” Little said. “He said that he needed to see the tag.”
Little said she is embarrassed and upset, and hopes her story will prompt change.
“Especially being a big corporation like Albertson’s,” Little said, “You would think they would know the laws or that he would want to learn them, being a manager."
An Albertson's spokeswoman told FOX 4 they regret that the situation occurred and have taken steps to ensure that all employees are aware that service dogs are welcome in all of their stores. She also said the store director has spoken directly to Little.