Amy Kaplan and her service dog, Zero. / Provided
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Starbucks plans to apologize to a Brighton, N.Y., woman who said she was denied service Sunday afternoon because she had her service dog with her.
Amy Kaplan, 24, posted a brief video on YouTube in which she asked an employee at the shop, "Are you denying me access because of my service dog?"
The employee replied, "No, I'm not. I'm telling you that you cannot come in with your service dog."
Kaplan said she stopped at the shop around 3 p.m. Sunday after taking a long walk with the dog, a Malamute named Zero. Kaplan said she suffered a traumatic brain injury two years ago in a crash between a bus and the ambulance she was working on as an emergency responder, and that she also has a severe form of bipolar disorder.
The dog is trained to assist her with everything from coping with memory issues that stem from her brain injury, such as difficulty remembering where her car is parked or locating her apartment, to managing anxiety.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses that serve the public are required to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals inside. The federal government advises businesses to ask only if an animal is a service animal required because of a disability and what tasks it has been trained to perform.
People are not required to produce any documentation or identification verifying that a dog is a service animal or of their disability.
Kaplan said the employee told her the dog had no identification and was not wearing a vest. It's not the first time she has run into questions or been asked to leave a business because she was with the dog, she said.
"This is a part of daily life when you're a service dog handler," Kaplan said. "Everywhere you go, nobody wants to let me in."
Laurel Harper, a spokeswoman for Starbucks, said the company was trying to reach Kaplan on Monday to apologize.
"It's unfortunate that this happened," Harper said. "Ms. Kaplan did have an experience that's absolutely inconsistent with our values and our service animal policy."
Kaplan said an apology helps, but she wants Starbucks to better train its employees on service animals.
Harper said the company trains employees at hiring to simply ask if an animal is a service animal and to welcome customers who say yes without further questions, Harper said. The company sends out reminders about once a year, she said.
Read the original story: Starbucks denies entry to woman with service dog