Columbus Man, Service Dog Temporarily Banned From Store

Columbus Man, Service Dog Temporarily Banned From Store

Posted: Mar 27, 2015 9:19 PM EDTUpdated: Mar 27, 2015 9:24 PM EDT
A Columbus man is hoping a store owner will follow the law, after what may have been a costly mistake.

Christopher Cooley, who is legally blind and hearing impaired, relies on his service dog for assistance.

"Conrad is a big help," Cooley said. "He goes with me everywhere I go."

Earlier this week, Cooley said he went to the Northwest Carry Out, in Grandview Heights, and the owner of the store asked him to leave, with Conrad.

"The guy stopped me and said, 'hey, you can't have that dog in here,'" he said. "I was upset about it, nervous."

According to Cooley's attorney, denying anyone with a disability service, due to the presence of a service dog, is a violation of the Americans with Disability Act.

"The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is a federal statute that was enacted, in part, to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities, such as Christopher Cooley," said attorney, Avonte Campinha-Bacote. "Part of the ADA deals with discrimination in places of public accommodation, which are places like convenient stores, gas stations, and even restaurants."

NBC4 spoke with the owner of Northwest Carry Out, Nimash Patel, who said he was unaware of the ADA.

On Friday, Cooley reentered the store, with Conrad, and Patel apologized for rejecting his business.

"Now, I know," Patel said. "So no problem, you know."

Cooley said he is hopeful he will not face this issue, in the future.

"I'm glad that he apologized and he said any service dog is allowed in so, you know, we'll come back and try it again and see what happens," he said.

In 2011, Cooley filed a complaint against a Columbus gas station claiming he was asked to leave the store, due to his service dog.

Campinha-Bacote said that case settled.

"I've represented Chris in the past in lawsuits where someone or a company has violated his rights under the ADA, and will continue to do so," said Campinha-Bacote. "I believe that no individual should ever be discriminated against, whether that's because of their race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, or disability."

comments powered by Disqus