Two unrelated fibromyalgia patients recently encountered problems in public places because of their service dogs. The patients, a woman in Connecticut and a woman in Texas, were told they could not have their dogs inside the buildings and were denied service. Both of these incidents are potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Rita Abrego suffers from fibromyalgia and several other health problems, but her service dog is an important part of her life. KSAT reports that Selene, a maltipoo, helps her cope with pain and anxiety. However, an employee at Herredero Mexican Restaurant in Alamo City told Abrego she could not have the dog inside and refused to serve the woman food. Abrego was forced to call the police and suffered an anxiety attack because of the incident. The restaurant owner mentioned that she was not aware of maltipoos being allowed to be service dogs. In addition, the owner admits she did not think Abrego was disabled because her health problems were not obvious.
Danyelle Carter went through a similar incident at her doctor’s office. The Connecticut woman credits her service dog with helping her complete basic things such as getting a phone from a table because her fibromyalgia makes it difficult to move. However, FOX 4 reports that Dr. Michael Krall yelled at Danyelle Carter and kicked her out of his office because she brought her service dog to an appointment. Dr. Krall, who is an allergist, stated he was allergic to dogs and did not want them in his office. Carter claims she called the office before bringing her dog to make sure it was allowed and received a positive response.
The Americans with Disabilities Act has guidelines for service dogs that prohibit businesses and offices from declining service to people who bring them inside. In addition, the owners and employees may not segregate the customer with the service dog from others, and their no pets policies do not apply to service animals.
Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain