Starbucks barista denies customer with service dog -

Starbucks barista denies customer with service dog

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By Ruella Rouf By Ruella Rouf

(CNN) -- In New York, a woman said she was embarrassed after she was denied service at Starbucks because of her service dog.

Amy Kaplan and her dog Zero have a bond that goes beyond companionship.

"I feel anxious, honestly when I leave the house without him it kind of feels like I forgot to dress myself," Kaplan said in a CNN story.

Her service dog is by her side everywhere she goes, but on Sunday, a barista at a Brighton Starbucks tried to separate the two.

Kaplan said she captured the last 45 seconds of a five-minute argument at Starbucks.

"The first thing that was said to me when I went up to the counter to order a drink was to get out of here and he said you can't have a dog in here and I explained to him he is a service dog," she said.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, any animal that is individually trained to help a person with a disability is a service animal. Federal law does not require dogs to wear a certified vest or collar.

"If there are questions, businesses can ask too ‘Is this a service animal and what tasks does the animal help the person perform,' but according to the ADA, that's it, a business cannot force a person to present any paperwork or prove that a dog is a service animal," said Rachel Glaser of Brighton, New York.

"People need to realize just because a person does not appear to have a disability does not mean they are not disabled and questioning them because of that can be extremely hurtful," Kaplan said.

Two years ago, Kaplan suffered a traumatic brain injury and struggles with memory loss, chronic pain, anxiety—all symptoms that Zero is trained to help her deal with.

"Before I was even able to get that across to him (the barista) he turned his back to me and said fine, get your drinks and get out," Kaplan said.

Starbucks sent a statement saying that Kaplan had an unacceptable experience that was not consistent with the company's values or service animal police.

"Things like this make afraid of showing up to school and being told in front of a classroom full of people, you need to leave because you have a service dog-people gawk, people stare and a confrontation happens and people don't always take your side," Kaplan added.

She said she plans to file a complaint against the company with the attorney general and the United States Department of Justice.


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