Ice cream under fire for refusing to serve a woman with a service dog

More than 80 million Americans are supported by service animals. The help these trained animals provide has made a HUGE difference in the lives of people with disabilities. In many cases, these fearless companions help their owners lead an active, enjoyable lifestyle despite their personal disabilities.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals have every right and permission to occupy the same physical space as their owners. This means that, as long as they are on duty, service animals are allowed in bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.

Any business owner or employee who refuses to have service animals in their building is in violation of this act and could face legal trouble. However, despite the ADA’s clear regulations, many businesses refuse to service animals on a daily basis. There is a war going on for the rights of Americans with disabilities.

A Jacksonville woman has begun her own journey to justice after a surprising series of events. During a visit to the Cold Stone Creamery factory in Jacksonville, Florida, Porsha Kennon was shocked and dismayed by the treatment of her service dog by employees.

The couple was greeted with hostility and loud voices. They were then blatantly denied entry. According to Kennon, this type of abuse is a direct attack on the rights of a person with a disability.

This isn’t the first conflict Kennon has had with the world-famous ice cream maker, despite their claims of unity:

“Cold Stone Creamery strives to provide the best customer experience for everyone who visits our brand stores. Providing a professional and safe environment for all customers and employees is a top priority,” said a representative of the ice cream shop chain. “Our brand’s unwavering commitment to the communities we serve helps make Cold Stone Creamery the ultimate ice cream experience for everyone.”

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, restaurant and store owners are only allowed to ask service animal owners two specific questions:

1) Is this animal a trained service animal?

2) What services are your animals trained to provide?

If business owners want to ask for any more details, they risk a lawsuit for ignoring federal guidelines:

“You can’t even ask people about their disability where their animal has been certified because that gets you litigated,” said attorney John Phillips.

Kennon explained that the hostile treatment she received at the facility caught her off guard, leaving her feeling defenseless:

“On our first visit, we were yelled at, and I was withdrawn,” says Kennon. “I don’t really advocate for myself.”

The fight to protect the rights of people with service animals is ongoing. Earlier this year, a man in London had a similar problem when try to get your service animal into a local grocery store. Fortunately, both owners have since used their exposure to fight for the rights of others in their communities.

Kennon hopes that the national concern for her plight will encourage people, especially those with disabilities, to stand up for themselves:

“If you are shy, I understand that but know that you have a right to exist and occupy space,” says Kennon.

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