Dunnellon girl recordsdata criticism towards tattoo store, video exhibits worker denying entry to service canine

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OCALA, Florida (WCJB) – Service animals are becoming increasingly prominent in public places – but not always welcome.

“I have a service animal as a disabled veteran and you tell me she cannot be here,” said Ann-Marie Bortz on a cell phone video she recorded.

The Air Force veteran taped the video after saying she went to the Ocala’s Tattoo Gallery to ask for an appointment.

She was looking at murals after being told that walk-ins will not be accepted when this video was recorded.

On the video, the man who told Bortz he was the owner said her service dog was not allowed in the tattoo shop.

“I’ve had it for eight years and it is my everything. They know that people don’t understand what we are going through with post-traumatic stress disorder, ”said Bortz.

State law states that a person with a disability has the right to move their companion animal to public accommodation – this could be an amusement park, grocery store, or any other location where the general public is invited.

“So if a manager says you can’t be here or throws him out of the store, it’s illegal,” I asked attorney Barb Page, “that means it may be a violation of the ADA yes,” she said.

Page is a Florida disability rights attorney and is not affiliated with the case, but did provide us with insight into the laws related to service animals.

“The service animal does not have to wear a vest or a collar that identifies it as a service animal. The only thing the dog must meet under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA is that the dog has been specially trained for the person with disabilities and has been trained for a task or job, “Page said.

Sapphire wears a vest when it’s time to work and the colors have a reason.

“It protects her because, as I said, when she’s on the ground and you can see that she’s small and people don’t normally see her, you live up here at your height,” said Bortz.

Ocala’s tattoo gallery told us that they have the utmost respect for our veterans and even offer them special discounts.

Owner and manager Christina Allan gave us this statement:

“The Ocala’s tattoo gallery has the utmost respect for our brave men and women who serve and continue to serve our great country. For this reason, we are offering a military discount as a small thank you. The service woman who visited our studio was turned away only because we had no availability for tattoos, not because of her service animal. We welcome service animals with their owners at agreed times and do what we can to accommodate them. “

Bortz said she filed a complaint with the ADA and was looking for a lawyer.

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