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Starbucks denies woman entry to store with her service dog

As if there hasn't been enough discussion on television, radio, and the Internet about the benefits of service dogs to their human companions and how important these canine partners are to people with disabilities, the all too uninformed of Starbucks at Twelve Corners in Brighton, New York really need to wake up and "smell the coffee."

Amy and her Malamute service dog Zero.
Contributed photo via screenshot Democrat &Chronicle

According to Amy Kaplan's brief video she recorded and played on her Facebook page Sunday afternoon, she and her service dog Zero were denied entry and service. In the video, Amy is heard asking the employee:

"Are you denying me service because of my service dog?"

The employee responds:

"No, I'm not. I'm telling you that you can't come in with your service dog... I see no proof that's a service dog. Service dogs are licensed."

According to, Kaplan, 24, suffered a traumatic brain injury two years ago as the result of a crash giving her memory lapses. Her service dog, Zero, has given Amy her "life back" she states.

"I felt humiliated because every customer in that store saw what was going on and I could see some of them were getting upset."

The Americans With Disabilities Act defines service animals as:

"dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets."

Employees can only ask two questions which include inquiring if the dog is a service animal needed because of a disability, and what tasks has the dog been trained to perform. The dog need not be wearing a vest, nor does the person have to show any special licenses or badges. It is against the law to question someone as to their disability.

Starbucks has apologized to Amy and of course to Zero.

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