Reverse PETCO's Discriminatory and Illegal Policies Against Service Dogs and Individuals With Disabilities.
As a wheelchair user and someone born with cerebral palsy, it takes more energy and focus for me to navigate doors, drawers, light switches and other daily tasks. With the help of Canine Companions for Independence, my life has been much more manageable these past 18 months, thanks to Pico, my beloved service dog, loyal sidekick and champion. We’ve developed an unbreakable bond, and now count ourselves among the 387,000 active service dog teams nationwide.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that service dog teams are welcomed anywhere the public is allowed and that a service dog’s human companion must maintain control of the animal at all times. Ironically, on the very week the ADA turned 25, PETCO discriminated against me and my service dog, Pico, by trying to separate us in the grooming area and classifying it as a non-public space. This designation was never intended to justify forcible separation of service dog teams to receive public services except in extreme cases.
Join me in calling on PETCO to respect individuals with disabilities and follow the law – tell them to allow service dog teams to stay together at all times.
It may not sound like a big deal, but PETCO’s insistence that I leave Pico with the groomer and wait for him in an adjacent room has the potential to significantly damage my working relationship with him. To relinquish control of Pico to someone who has no knowledge of how he is trained means I would be unable to solve any problems that may arise from his mishandling, which may lead to phobias and significantly damage his ability to work. To jeopardize Pico’s trust in me could reverse all the progress we’ve made, and ruin what has become the most important relationship in my life. What PETCO is doing is in direct defiance of the ADA’s rules and is simply against the law.
PETCO is standing behind this new policy, citing “safety concerns.” But not only is it illegal, it’s harmful to people with disabilities and their service dogs alike.
Tell PETCO to reverse its discriminatory policies and allow service dog teams to stay together at all times.
- Chief Executive Officer and Director, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc.
James M. Myers
We believe service dogs play a vital role in the lives of their handlers. With a deep respect and appreciation for the unique bond that exists between service dog teams, we call on PETCO to adopt common sense changes to their grooming policies in support of all patrons with disabilities and service dogs. We implore PETCO to honor the intent of the ADA and ensure that no team is forcibly separated as a prerequisite for receiving public services except in extreme cases.
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