Amanda Figueroa says she’s had her pit bull medical service dog Sir Doogan for nearly two years and had never had an issue taking him to public venues.
But two weeks ago, she says she had been visiting a friend at Capital Regional Medical Center for several hours when she was confronted by an administrator and then security guards who told her Doogan posed a safety risk.
“He finally told me that if we didn’t leave, he was going to call the cops and have me arrested for trespassing,” said Figueroa.
A statement from the hospital says, “At Capital Regional Medical Center, our first priority is for the safety and well-being of our patients. We have policies in place for the safety of not only our patients, but visitors and staff as well.”
However Florida law states a service dog must be admitted to public venues like hospitals to help people who are blind, deaf, have balance issues or perform other tasks.
It also says fear of animals is not a valid reason for denying access.
Denial is a second degree misdemeanor.
State Attorney Willie Meggs reviewed the case and decided not to prosecute.
“I don’t see how having a pit bull running loose with you qualifies as a service dog,” stated Meggs.
Federal Americans with Disability law also states service dogs can’t be denied access to public venues.
It also says you can only ask a person if it’s a service dog and what is its task.
“Well some moron in Congress probably wrote that law,” said Meggs.
Hospital administrators met with Figueroa, but she’s not satisfied.
“I would like for them to have some kind of repercussion, they have yet to apologize,” said Figueroa.