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Thread: Dollar general won't read or understand the service dog ADA laws.

  1. #21
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Wisconsin USA
    LaMem does have a point. I knew quite a bit about training dogs before Maggie including taking them in German restaurants with other dogs or kids in them. Only problem I ever had was one drunk woman who insisted on trying to coax Reggie, as a puppy, out from under our table to play with because golden retrievers were still rare over there back then. We went to a training session for self trainers at a PAWS group by ADI and I bought and watched both DVDs on dog training for service. When Istarted puppy or young dog hunting I went through local AKC groups so I'd know the pup's OFA background (a generational health report that includes any history of orthopedic, eye and heart problems that no pet shop "championship dog with AKC papers will have) and had no luck there. Checked out several shelter dogs for weekend trials and one of this went on to become a police drug dog but her noise never left the ground and I needed a social animal. Finally found Maggie through a lead from a shelter. Great disposition and no easily found fears. After almost a year of training including hiring an expert to help with off leash training Maggie still had one small but serious quirk that kept her from becoming my service dog...a total inability to not say hello to any and every dog she saw. We knew this could happen and she is now a well trained and wonderful friend. CCI has a failure rate of about 50% it used to be 60%. Anyone training their own needs to understand going in that your dog may never qualify as a service animal so choose wisely. You'll have them as a pet for a long time.

    Jody, did you go ahead and contact the CEO of Dollar General? If not, do! And send him exactly the same papers you tried to give the local store manager. Then suggest you think your next step will be a complaint to the Justice Department or a local TV station news person if they do not train their employees correctly.

    Maggie had no problems with outside restaurants either. To transition inside find a family owned non-chain restaurant a visit a few times. Then explain you'd like to try your dog there during a non-busy time and ask them to please ignore your dog. The first time just go in for a coke and some fries. They do need to be around the food smells inside even if you don't need them there. One of the tests for the training groups is malls and they have food courts. Try and avoid McDonalds and the like. Too much noise, kids, dropped food and people who want to pet the dog. While I was an AB while training Reggie I wanted her to go wherever German dogs could go. Her next task was going to be street cars. I really wish someone had really talked to me more about making her a service dog. I was injured a week after she turned one and it would not have been hard to get her to master everything else except airline flights. One trip in the pressurized cargo hold and she refused to go in her old favorite nap spot, her air carrier without the door on. But that truly is optional.
    Last edited by Sue Pendleton; 03-11-2014 at 12:14 PM.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  2. #22
    Donno, you never know. I know why I feel and think as I do. Others may view the topic in much more emotional ways.

  3. #23
    Sue, you know more about animal behavior, training and vet medicine than do many professionals in the field. You are thoughtful, intelligent, studied and ask questions, expose yourself to learning opportunities whenever possible. It is not the same for every other owner wishing to train her/his own animal to be of assistance.

    Maggie has been of great help to you on so many occasions. She is also of a breed often trained for assistance to those of us with disabilities. Not every breed has the temperament and the capacity for the training and learning. Not every owner has the ability to be as thoughtful, studied and measured in training. I have no doubt Ms. Mags would not have been your service dog had she not been up to the task. You love her and you'd have not done it.

    I became much more aware of what is involved in training assistance animals through CCI in my area. I applied for a service dog, had an interview and had a home visit scheduled. My health took a turn and I've been putting out fires medically since. My health has not allowed me to followup with CCI. I've only just begun having any sort of normalcy in my life again. Last week was the first time I had met with friends for a few hours in months. It would have been unfair to an animal to begin its life of assistance with me given my health this last year. I also would not have been able to go through the two weeks of training required of humans as matches are made with CCI assistance animals.

    For now, I'm attempting to slowly piece together my life after so many infections. I have testing ahead as my docs look for answers for me re: repeated, incessant respiratory infections.

    I spent an hour with Wonder Dog this a.m. and the day with her yesterday. As much as I love my time with her, I'm unable to care for a dog properly 24/7 in my solo life. When I am well, I can. When I am not, I don't always manage myself and need additional help from outside. There may come a time again when I can have an animal, but I won't for now. I'm aware of my abilities and what I can and cannot do. I cannot so I won't.

    I had had a smaller dog who recognized my impending seizures before I had had a clue. My doc wanted the dog with me around the clock to keep me safer. My doc had been with my dog and me in my own home and asked me to bring her (Molly, the dog) with me to my next appointment with her (the doc). My dog was wonderful around others, took to flying commercially with me like a champ, patiently sat on the floor next to me in restaurants, never jumped on others and only barked and jumped on me when I was about to seize. She gave me the opportunity to get myself safe prior to a seizure.

    My doctor requested I buy a vest for Molly so others would recognize her as an animal other than a pet. I did. Strangers seemed to understand and never questioned Molly's legitimacy. We went everywhere together and I never had any problems from anyone else. People were curious about her as strangers are about such wonderful assistance creatures. The only misunderstanding with anyone ever came when a woman decided Molly must be a USDA sniffing dog. She asked if that is what Molly did as she had just seen a TV report on such dogs and the USDA sniffing dogs were sometimes smaller breeds.

    I was quite cautious at first with my dog and the idea of using her in such a way. My doc recognized something in Molly and knew she would be a good dog to have around 24/7. I had mentioned Molly's behavior when I had been with friends and had had a seizure. In any case, Molly became my seizure alert dog. I began to relax about her being with me 24/7 when at the end of a quick flight to Atlanta, the pilot sought out Molly and me. He'd been aware of her presence on the flight before, during and after landing at Hartsfield. "That is the best behaved dog I've ever seen in my life." He was right. She was. Molly made it safer for me to have a semblance of a more normal life. I still had seizures, but I had warning to get myself safer in the moment before.

    Even though Molly helped me immeasurably during her life with me, I'd not have given a second thought to using her as an alert dog had she been incapable, had she been any sort of threat to others. No matter my love and affection for her, I'd not have used her if she had been incapable. I'd have separated the emotional from the logical and Molly would have been boarded when I traveled.

    Jody, how's it going with the dollar store? Have you written a letter to anyone within the chain to document what occurred?
    Last edited by LaMemChose; 03-11-2014 at 01:23 PM. Reason: words left out in second to last paragraph

  4. #24
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    I enjoyed your writing. I don't at all disagree with any of the above posts.
    I very much agree with them in fact.

    Barney is an Anatolian shepherd.

    My vet has a small no kill shelter and he spent eight months there.
    I didn't intend to get a dog of his size and breed. He chose me though.

    Not an easy breed for obedience training. I have kept his tasks and situations within his abilities. He has been abused at some point and he is fearful of some things, so it was a surprise that he shows aptitude to be a service dog.
    He gets it though. when his harness is on and im holding on to it, he's on the job and it shows.

    no aggression.

    he has a lot of work ahead of him for him to be completely reliable.
    He has not misbehaved while in any store. My trips are small and maybe 1-2 in store trips in a week, to keep his store skills honed.

    I am looking for a training group. there are none for service dogs in my area, but there are options for obedience and advanced obedience training.

    I did contact the corporate office for dollar general through the link that KLD provided.

    a man called me back but not from the corporate office. He threatened to file for damages caused by my dog in his store, and when I told him my dog was not in the store, he said it was if he says it was, and I would have to prove that it wasn't.

    Today, I spoke to the same lawyer the man in the video link has, as there are two others who have filed a class action law suit against dollar general. for the same reason. the problem is they all are in Columbia, and I am 2-3 hours away in upstate south Carolina.

    Iv looked for any incident where a service dog has caused problems for them, and there are none that I can see.

    It is simply their policy to exclude service dogs, and to dis, the disabled. Im not spending another dime there no matter how close they are to my house.
    my dog would pass all on leash tests, except the long down stay. he does need reminding not to lean in his harness and pull on me, however he slows his pace when reminded.

    Im most concerned with people who have more of a dependence on their dogs than I do. Dollar General has a general policy to exclude people using a service dog, no matter what kind of service the dog provides.

    in reply to some questions in above posts:
    Barney will not crawl under a table, and that is needed for going into restaurants. he's a chow hound and has not yet learned to ignore someone who is eating.

    He isn't badly behaved about food and people eating, but he is still new to his job and does get distracted by smells.

    he has so far, behaved very well in stores, is clean and brushed every day to minimize shedding, and he has not barked or made any noise inside. he does sniff the air, and can be distracted by people trying to sneak a touch, and I had a neighbor who would call him when we passed by, and would throw him food. thankfully she has moved.

    mostly people holler beautiful dog, or want to know what breed he is.

    Dollar general is the only store who has even questioned our right to access, and if not for that man who threatened to lie about damages we caused, since we weren't even inside the store, I would just not give them my business and be happy about that.

    im not an expert dog trainer. I do have some ability with some dogs.

    This dog chose me, and his most important task is with stairs leading to my apartment, and with balance while walking stepping up or off a curb, and getting out of a chair or off the ground.

    he will pick up my dropped keys, and some other dropped items.

    Lamemchose, Its good you are getting some life back. I have good days and not so good days. It turns out I have no intrinsic factor, which is a thing needed for making or processing B12. without B12, quality of life is not so good.

    I had a stomach biopsy two weeks ago. no cancer but no intrinsic factor for certain.

    I saw my Dr today and she says that B12 is needed by all parts of the body especially nerves and nervous system. maybe you might get your b12 level tested.

    getting on a good supplement has helped me feel a lot better, though the autonomic issues are not totally gone, they are improved.

  5. #25
    As you probably know, Barney will grow to a huge size. He will likely weigh in at 140-150 lb. when an adult. That's a lot of dog to feed, groom and tend. CCI had told me to expect yearly costs of at least $500 per year and that is if nothing goes wrong, the dog is not injured, does not become seriously ill. You've got a small horse on your hands!

    Barney's breed may present problems for you. Anatolian Shepherds are bred to be herding dogs. It may not make for a good assistance dog. If you are with other people, his instinct will be to herd you guys and keep anyone from leaving his flock. Herders can lightly nip as flock members move away from the centralized group. The liability for you is huge. If he ever bites anyone, he could end his life.

    Ana Sheps are also used as guard dogs. He may become overly protective of you. If he ever bites anyone, even to nip, he'll likely be put down by authorities.

    Barney was raised by boarding, not trained in his earliest months. It may present lost time for leaning he is incapable of overcoming.

    As much as you love Barney and want him to be with you 24/7, you may wish to rethink being in public with him until he stops pulling and until he can better handle himself by staying in the down position (and whatever other commands you give) until and unless you release him verbally and with whatever cues you give. The world at large may offer too much stimulation given his breed and his eight months in a kennel.

    Why did the previous owners relinquish him to the shelter/vet?

    Here's just something else to ponder. You had written Barney could stay home, but why should he with laws for assistance animals remaining with us? Just because you can do something does not always mean you should. Barney is not trained as a service animal and has difficulty with basic commands most dogs learn. Expecting more of him may stress him and you, too.

    You have said he would not manage well in a restaurant. What happens if you two are strolling along and encounter a stranger eating? It might not end well. Even if he does not bite anyone in such a scenario, if others feel threatened, it can be enough for him to receive a label as a menacing dog.

    I have not met your Barney. I'm just going with what you have written. It sounds as though Barney is not an assistance dog as yet.

    Thank you for thinking of me with your intrinsic factor. My B12 levels (and a myriad of other such levels) have been checked and are fine. My sodium level is still hanging a tad low, but I continue to add more salt to my diet in hopes of finding the right level. It is starting to look as though the main culprits in my repeated infections are 52+ years inhabiting a body affected by cerebral palsy and 20+ years as an incomplete quad. No matter how incomplete my injury, the combo of it w/cerebral palsy is a load on my physical self as it is for many of us in this community.

    As much as you love Barney, please don't use the law as an excuse to bring your extra large pet with you. Should he gain additional skills, learn to follow your commands (verbal, aural, visual), stop the pulling behaviors and follow you to a tee, it's unfair to Barney to expose him to situations he cannot yet handle. Keep working with him daily and should he learn service animal skills, wonderful! Until, it's unfair to him, to other trained service animals and to the rest of us to have such a large animal in public with such a meager skill set.

    The best to you and Mr. Barney!

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by jody View Post
    Thank you for your reply.
    As it turns out, even dogs wearing the made up "certified service dog" Id, and wearing a vest, are turned out of dollar general, or they are harassed.

    A man saying he was a general manager claims to have seen me in the store with my dog, and that people ran out in fear. This was a complete lie, as My dog was never inside their store. He claims to have been there to witness me in the store.
    Im not sure what the heck that is all about, what his motivation is.

    I have not been to a dollar general since. When I am up to a confrontation I may go ahead and and tell them go ahead call the police then. I have no problem shopping other places, but it's about the principal of the matter.
    They are breaking the law, not I.

    I looked online and found a few video's
    this is one. this is about what I experienced. My dog was not in their store however. I began shopping at that store on the very day it opened in 2009. They know me well as iv been shopping there for four years.
    this is the trainer going to the same store.
    their dogs were wearing the vests and Id that they want my dog to wear. I have a vest, but my dog doesn't wear it, he wears a working harness which is clearly labeled service dog wit two large patches. he has all the proper health papers and vaccination records, and it's very obvious he is working, and that I have mobility issues.

    anyway they have a class action law suit or had because the managers still kicked the man out.
    I don't see the video of the man calling the police, but it did come to that.

    I think more people should visit dollar general with their service dogs.

    even after this it's still a problem.

    this is in south Carolina.
    Hi Jody,

    I agree, it's the principle of it, they are breaking the law!

    I would go back. Just make sure you have the ADA laws to hand to the police. In fact, first I would contact the police department and ask them if they know the rules pertaining to SD's in public. Many do not.

    You are not required to carry medical records of your dog. I myself would copy the rabies vaccination certificate and carry that, or have the current tag on the collar.

    Since having the dog "dressed" is not required, a dog wearing a harness doesn't need a cape or anything similar. If "dressing" the dog was a law, dogs in harness are exempt. You said you have a tag on his harness? That's enough and legally you don't need that either, just makes it easier on you <G>

    A petition on would be useful with a copy to Dollar General corporate, the ADA, your states Attorney General and, of course your local store. I would pursue it for the next SD team that wants to shop at that store.

    K9 (Julie)
    Ban the DEED,Not the BREED!

  7. #27
    I asked them if they would ask a blind person for certified dog ID, and if they would require that blind person to put a red vest on their dog. they said no, and that they have never had a blind person in their store or any other person with a dog.

    and two sentences later the manager said she "had to kick someone out because they had a Chihuahua with a service vest and they were rubbing the dogs butt on everything"

    the other manager standing next to her said "My sister has a service dog."

    All of that is a direct result of the general public only knowing about guide dogs for the blind. When you think about it, how many people have actually seen one working. SD's are becoming more common, but most people have never seen one, and nobody in their city uses one. It's up to us to educate people about it. Actually, a guide dog is also considered a SD, but most people use "guide dog" and "service dog" like they're 2 different categories.

    ******To have a problem with another store after the last thing is disheartening.

    I don't think its fair the way Dollar General is insinuating they would claim I caused trouble in their store with my dog, when I have spent my small income there for five years.

    I was outside their store with my dog, not inside. My dog waited in my truck, or we stood in front of the store just like the man in the video posted above.
    Do you have anybody that could video-tape you and your dog in Walmart, where they don't give you a problem? Then you have documented how your dog behaves in a store setting. Document times and dates of everything that has happened. It won't take much to win this because 2 other people have been hassled in different places. It's a no-brainer that Dollar General is digging themselves a hole People with SDs should all go to Dollar General in their area. I bet that people in wheelchairs don't get denied. Why? Because it's very visible that they have a disability. Fair? NO!! I had an invisible disability for years. It became visible when my walking deteriorated where I could no longer hide it. That led to the chair, so it's readily noticeable. Could that be the reason they harass you? Some people have a warped idea of the disabled. To them, you walk, so why do you need a dog? For balance stupid. Without him to balance me, I'll fall, break a bone and sue your ass! Gotta have a little humor or you'll never get through the day.

    Im just trying to have a good life while living with what I live with. I gave up on having friends that are people after the horrible thing that happened last year.

    Im not bothering anyone. you don't know about lonesome unless you do.

    I do.

    My dog is a wonderful gift. I can leave him home, but why should I, when the law is on my side, and Im abiding by the law?

    Im worried about even bothering to tell anyone about this new thing after the rejection and the heartbreak I felt upon losing friends who were so dear to me, but the truth is, I belong here.

    I earned my place, I put in my time, and iv been true to myself, and to those iv admired.

    Iv been faithful to care cure.
    Iv regretted speaking without caution, like I was some kind of family member.

    I trusted the wrong people and paid dearly with my emotional well being.

    I have extreme social anxiety.

    I cant explain enough, what the witch hunt did to my confidence.
    Jody, may I ask what happened? What witch hunt? You don't have friends?

    I do know and understand being "lonesome." I have had a ton of shit thrown my way, almost non-stop for the past 15 years or so. If I have one more person say to me, "god only gives you what you can handle," I swear I'll bitch slap them! If there is a god, he can just move on and start throwing shit at somebody else and leave me alone. I've shown I can handle it, despite what the stress has done to me, so move on already!

    I am housebound. I'm in the big dirty, noisy, nasty, dangerous city. Transplanted from a life in suburbia, living in the same house for 30 years. This is culture shock! All of my friends are back in my old county and it's too long of a drive for most. I have a friend that gets here maybe once a year and one that comes maybe every 2 months. I have been socially isolated for those 15 years and it sucks! Haven't been to a dog show, haven't competed, can't go to the training club, to get a haircut, new glasses, the dentist, or a store! I have 2 visiting doctors, no 3 with the podiatrist, a neurologist, a visiting x-ray guy, ultra sound doppler guy, nothing very social in any of that. Good thing I was always pretty much a loner and it doesn't bother me because I like to be alone. NOT having a choice is what I hate. I want to go places when I choose, make doctor appointments etc, when it's convenient for me...not for them.

    But none of that is important, well I pretend it isn't I have my dog, that I am currently training and I love her to death. My daughter came to live with me after her divorce, so I have her to do what I can't. I guess I'm mostly lonely for the old me.

    Don't worry too much about certification becoming mandatory. As a dog trainer, I know there are plenty of trainers, like me, who now need a service dog. We aren't going to pay somebody to do what we can do, sometimes better. If it comes to that, it will probably be a requirement for a CGC, or a CD degree, both are simple as hell to get, for a trainer anyway because most of us have trained dogs to much higher levels than that. One good thing is that it would weed out all the people who try to pass their dogs off as SDs and the owner has never trained a dog in their life. You can't claim to be a trainer after one CD degree, it's years of working with all breeds and all behavior problems. I'd be happy to see the wannabe's busted.

    Hang in there, Jody.

    Ban the DEED,Not the BREED!

  8. #28
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    Im sorry but you've assumed a lot that isn't true for us.

    thank you for your good wishes though.

    He isn't at all intrusive if he see's a stranger eating. he might stare and sniff the air, but he accepts No with no problem. he's not ready for every situation, and I feel no need to challenge every business with ADA conflicts.

    he is full grown, but may get a little heavier. he weighs about 90 pounds and is about hip height. larger than a German shepherd, not as tall as a great Dane.
    He doesn't bite.

    I guess you would have to see us to understand why we make a good team.
    im not abusing any laws or privileges. if ever he was disruptive or misbehaved, we would leave.

    we started out going to petsmart. we went once unintentionally on a day they had an adoption fair, and there were dogs cats, kids, and commotion. He did his work.

    It's unfortunate that there are so many Turkish video of aggressive, dirty dogs A S dogs with their poor ears chopped off.

    whoever bred this dog, bred for temperament. he is true to the AKC standard for his type.

    There are three types.

    three coat types, three tail types, and two size types. He is less heavy than the beasty looking dogs in the Turkish video's, and more like what you see on the dog show video's.

    My biggest challenge is his need for some vigorous exercise. we go to a dog park once a week if weather permits, and he trots along with my trike a couple times a week, as well as walks around where I live.

    the breed is very old, they were bred to problem solve without human intervention, so training is a little different than for other sheep dog breeds. He has learned all his basic commands, and some tasks to assist me.

    he was found running the streets. A vet tech who shows AKC Anatolians, saw him and brought him to the shelter.
    if not for his being neutered, (all shelter dogs must be) she would have taken him.
    he was adopted twice and returned.
    It's true, Anatolians shepherds are not for everyone. Maybe my disability satisfies his inbred instinct. Maybe he just likes me. I hope we have a long happy relationship together.

    He eats 2 1/2 cups of food mornings, and 2 cups evenings as his workload is not too demanding right now.
    he will eat 40 pounds of iams and four large cans of dog food in a month plus daily dog cookies.
    He goes through a large three knot rope toy a month, so that does add up over a year.

    Im sure all the scenario's listed above are possible, as for any dog and dog owner. dogs are a big responsibility, and big dogs are bigger responsibilities.

    very likely the reason I haven't had a dog in so many years.
    not to mention the heartbreak at of two stolen dogs, one by the breeder (Margales mandy ray),after she'd won her first puppy classes, and the other, my lovely wild rose margaritte (my own Maggie) my ex-husband stole her out of spite and gave her away. by the time I found her, she was someone else's cairn terrier wonder dog.
    it wouldn't have been fair to take her away from them.
    all my pets are chipped now.

    As for Dollar General, Im happy not to spend my small income in that chain of stores, but not happy knowing other unsuspecting teams will be treated the same as a matter of policy, no matter how much training or how the dog is dressed. It has nothing at all to do with behavior, or any kind of negative incident, or what a dogs job is. or what a persons needs are.

    It's not a problem for me to go to go somewhere else. the other places I do go regularly, welcome us, and allow us that little time shopping clearance dog toys for the shelter dogs, or to get groceries, or pet food.

  9. #29
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    Its a long story K9.

    its pretty obvious im handicapped (hate that word)

    my balance isn't very good, and when an old man grabbed me at walmart and knocked me to the ground, it really set me back.
    I developed orthostatic tachycardia due to severe B12 deficiency. as well as ataxia, clonus, and pernicious anemia.
    it cause some loss of eyesight, but that is improving, except I think one eye is permanently night blind.
    it made eating and sleeping impossible, but that is better too.

    It took a long time to figure out about the B12 problem.
    I can see how it would be diagnosed as other things, but that just made it hard to deal with anything.

    Its been an eventful few years.

    I haven't trained a dog since my Maggie was stolen in 2005.

    I don't consider myself a dog trainer but I did compete a lifetime ago, owner handler, and breed events.

  10. #30
    For anyone (Jody!) interested in DG's track record with service dog/human pairings in its stores, here's an iReport from 2012:

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