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Denver cabby license revoked for service-animal cruelty

A Colorado cab driver had his license revoked and was served a hefty fine for forcing a blind woman to stow her seeing-eye dog in the trunk due to his allergies.

from ABC News affiliate in Denver KMGH 7:

"Denver resident Judie Brown was confused when the cabbie told her that the dog had to ride "in the back" of the cab because of he was allergic. When she asked, 'Where in the back?' the driver responded 'In the trunk.'

Late for an appointment, Brown reluctantly agreed. The black lab, Alberto, who has been Brown's service dog for four years, whined during the entire ride in the trunk. "It was terribly wrong," Brown said of the situation, and the law is on her side: Colorado state law protects service dogs and their owners, allowing them to ride together in taxis and public transport."

According to the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals trump all other needs (restaurant codes, health needs, pet rules), and the ADA does not currently label allergies, or even asthma, as a disability. While the driver has a right to protect a vehicle he likely spends most of his waking time in, the right thing to do would have been to call another cab.

We used to travel with a service dog from 2003-2007 and while we never experienced discrimination like this from a cab driver, there were plenty of instances where we had to pull out the briefing section from the ADA that discussed service animals to prove our working dog's rights. We suggest printing out this section and putting it in your dog's pack.

If this should happen to you, and you have time to do so, we recommend requesting another cab driver, or calling the driver's manager. Most company managers will know these rights, but if they don't, always report it.

Also, when we're traveling, we often save the names and numbers of cab companies and drivers that have been helpful to us (or at least, not UNhelpful) so we'd recommend also doing this to areas where you frequently travel. Keeping the personal card of a cab driver is good practice - often they will go out of their way to pick up repeating patrons, and always appreciate the reliable business.


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