Paws 4 Veterans is a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from shelters, then has inmates train them to become service dogs for veterans. Trainers with the Florida-based organization were stranded in Monteagle, Tennessee Monday night due to some automotive issues. After spending 2 hours on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, the 3 people with their service dogs wound up at American Eagle Inn, where the clerk refused to allow the group to stay at the hotel because they didn’t have documentation on paper that the dogs were service animals.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses are not allowed to ask for any proof that a dog is a service animal. And according to Tennessee law, they can ask handlers of dogs in training for their credentials, although the pups in this scenario were already certified. But in order to be cooperative, Crystal Ayala, the director of Paws 4 Veterans, pulled up their company website and provided business cards, but that wasn’t deemed to be satisfactory proof for the hotel clerk.
Paws 4 Veterans wound up calling the police, and the officer who arrived told the hotel clerk that if he didn’t allow the group to stay, he would be risking a lawsuit. The group was allowed to stay the night, but the next day they discovered the hotel had called the police again.Tuesday morning, Ayala had an altercation with the hotel owner in the parking lot.
Watch the news story here:
According to a message on the Paws 4 Veterans Facebook page:
“HOTEL OWNER (GENE) KICKS DISABLED VETERAN AND SERVICE DOGS OFF HIS PROPERTY AND ALMOST RUNS OVER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/SERVICE DOG HANDLER WITH HIS TRUCK!…The American Eagle Inn is NOT American at all! Doing this to Veterans and stranded Florida evacuees is disgusting. We are suppose[d] to come together and help each other in times of need. This was so upsetting and disappointing.”
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