Service dogs denied access to stores

Corey Houghtaling’s service dog Atticus helps him cope with PTSD; nevertheless, he was denied a seat at a New Jersey restaurant. (Photo credit:

It’s a common complaint amongst people with service dogs. More often than not, they are denied service because employees at stores and restaurants don’t understand the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It happened the other day for Amy Kaplan of Brighton, N.Y., when she and her service dog, Zero, tried entering a local Starbucks. Kaplan told a reporter at the Democrat & Chronicle, that a Starbucks employee told her, “I’m telling you that you can’t come in with your service dog.”

Kaplan pulled out her cell phone and recorded the exchange, which can be seen on YouTube.

A month earlier, Corey Houghtaling, a veteran who travels everywhere with his 2-year old black Labrador Retriever named Atticus, was denied seating in the main dining room at a restaurant in Franklin, N.J., because of his service dog.

“Before I had Atticus, I was a borderline basket case,” he tells “I used to have three to five anxiety attacks a week.” Houghtaling has undergone extensive PTSD (Post Tramautic Stress Disorder) therapy and Atticus by his side.

In another case, a woman with epilepsy was asked to leave a beauty supply store in the Fort Myers, Fla., area. The woman named Jessica Waylett told Fox 4 that the store owner informed her they only allow seeing-eye dogs in the store.

In each of these three cases the people didn’t have visible disabilities. Often store owners and their employees don’t understand that according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, any animal that is individually trained to assist a person with disabilities is a service animal, and that by law businesses cannot deny service to anyone with a service dog.

Sources: Democrat & Chronicle,, Fox 4