Charleston, South Carolina – What should have been a well-spent weekend shopping time, ended up to be a total disappointment for Jessica Paulsen, a woman who claims she was denied entrance to a King Street store to her and her cardiac service dog.
According to Jessica, the incident happened last Sunday at the Cocolat by Adam Turoni store.
Jessica has had her dog Henry for five years and this incident has been the second of its kind.
“It is me and Henry always, always, like there is no me without him. So he has been all over the world with me and I could not have gone anywhere without him,” says Paulsen.
“He is never not with me, like ever. He goes to work with me, I mean that is how essential it is. There is no me going in the chocolate store without him. So by denying entry to Henry, she was denying me,” says Paulsen.
Following the incident, Alexandra Trujillo De Taylor, the store co-owner, said that Jessica was denied entrance with her dog because ‘the dog was not acting like a proper service dog’ claiming that Henry was tugging at his owner’s leash. That, according to De Taylor, was enough for her to deny Henry entrance to the store and Jessica was kindly asked to leave.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act website, “staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.”
However, according to the same act, store owners are legally allowed to ask service dogs owners “is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?” and “what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?”
Jessica decided to publicly share her story in an effort to raise awareness about service dogs and people with disabilities.