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Posts Tagged "dog"

19Jul

Man, dog broke into a Fortis BC facility, Mounties allege

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Mounties on the Sunshine Coast are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect they say broke into a Fortis BC facility.

According to the RCMP, a man entered the location on Port Mellon Highway in Gibsons by digging a hole under a fence.

Security camera footage released by police shows the suspect and a dog that appears to be accompanying him in the facility.

Investigators said two brand new Honda EU2000I generators were taken during the break-in.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Mounties at 604-885-2266 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.


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19Jul

Blind man arrested after refusing to remove guide dog from Kamloops gas station store | CBC News

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A late night stop for a coffee in Kamloops, B.C., last month quickly got out of hand when a gas station attendant refused service to a blind man because he had his guide dog in the store. 

Ben Fulton, a law student from Ontario, was arrested on June 16 for causing mischief after getting into an argument with a gas station employee over his guide dog, which the employee said was not allowed in the store.

“I explained to the clerk that it was a guide dog and by law we were allowed to be in the store,” Fulton told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. “He insisted that his manager had given him very strict instructions that no dogs at all were allowed.”

Fulton said the conversation escalated, when the attendant asked if he should call the police. 

Cpl. Jodi Shelkie with the Kamloops RCMP said the attendant told police that when he asked Fulton, his travelling companion and the dog to leave the store, that they became “very verbal and made physical gestures,” which the attendant interpreted as threatening. 

Fulton called the RCMP’s comments a “gross misstatement of the fact.”

“I was telling the clerk that the dog was a guide dog, so I was being verbal in that I was explaining the situation,” he said. “I held my card out so the clerk could see the card. That’s the only gesture that I can imagine he’s talking about.” 

When officers arrived at the gas station, Fulton expected they would tell the gas station employee that the law does allow guide dogs in public places. 

Instead, RCMP handcuffed him, put him in the back of a police car and arrested him for causing mischief.

“The male was unco-operative and began yelling at the officers and, at this time, the man was arrested to prevent continuation of the offence,” Shelkie said. 

After 20 minutes of speaking with Fulton and his travelling companion, RCMP released Fulton with no charges. 

B.C.’s Guide Dog Service Act says a guide dog team (the dog and the individual that needs its assistance) can access public spaces just like a person without a guide dog might, providing that the dog does not take up a seat meant for public use and that dog must be on a leash or harness.   

The Human Rights Code in B.C., says a person cannot be denied access to a service on the basis of a number of things, including physical disability. Fulton, being a law student, was aware of this and plans to file a complaint with B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal. 

“I will be pursuing whatever measures are necessary to make sure that these rights are being enforced and upheld in the province and indeed the country.”

In addition, Fulton wants the gas station employee and the RCMP officers involved to do some sensitivity training. 

“I think it might behoove them to do a little work in the community with disabled people,” he said. 

An Ontario man plans to file a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal after an altercation with a gas station attendant over his guide dog led to him being arrested. 9:51

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18Jul

Blind man with guide dog denied service, arrested at Kamloops gas station

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A man who’s blind was told his guide dog wasn’t allowed inside a Kamloops gas station, and when RCMP arrived, he thought they would defend his rights, but instead, the officers put him in handcuffs.

“I was very shocked and appalled,” said Ben Fulton. “I was just really surprised at how quickly it spiraled out of control.”

The Toronto man was on a road trip to celebrate after graduating law school, but things took a turn when he made a pit stop at the Shell gas station on the Trans-Canada Highway around 11:30 p.m. on June 16.

All Fulton can see is a grey blur since losing his vision to a rare disorder called retinitis pigmentosa two years ago. He relies on his guide dog, Abbie, to be his eyes.

He said the gas station clerk was adamant his manager gave him “strict instructions” that pets were not allowed.

He said when he tried to show the guide dog identification card and explain that Abbie is not a pet, but rather a working dog, the clerk did not change his position.

“When I was showing him the card, he didn’t want to look at the card. He didn’t want to hear what I was saying about Abbie being a guide dog. He didn’t seem to understand the law,” Fulton said.

“He asked me if I wanted him to call the cops I responded by saying that I would love it if he called the cops. I was expecting them to show up and enforce the law.”
 

Fulton handcuffed and put in police cruiser

Kamloops RCMP said they received a call about a man and woman who were yelling and threatening the clerk.

“When the officers attended at first, they noticed the man and woman. The dog was off to the side and behind them; they didn’t even notice the dog, they were focused on the man and woman,” said spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.

Shelkie said the two officers asked Fulton and his friend to step outside because there were other customers inside the store, and when they refused, Fulton was arrested.

“The man and woman began yelling at them and the man was unco-operative. So to prevent continuation of the offence, the officers arrested the male and took him outside,” she said.

Fulton denied he was confrontational, maintaining that he was speaking calmly and he had simply wanted to show the officers his guide dog identification card.

“I was very calmly standing at the counter when they came in. I wasn’t yelling, I wasn’t saying anything,” he said. “The female officer asked me, ‘Why don’t we go outside and talk about this?’ So, I answered her question and I said, ‘I don’t want to go outside because I’m standing at the counter trying to get service.'”

Soon after, the other officer stepped in and put him in handcuffs and he was told he was being arrested for mischief.

He said he was overcome with fear when they placed him in the back of the cruiser.
 

‘Deficiency’ in RCMP training: Fulton

Kamloops RCMP defended the actions of the officers, saying protocols were followed.

“We have a lot of diversity training both for accessibility, cultural and racial situation and we deal with these on an ongoing basis. In this situation, as soon as they found out he’s blind, they removed him from handcuffs and he went on his way without charges. In this situation, the training very much worked,” said Shelkie.

Fulton believes the situation clearly demonstrates a lack in training because the officers were not able to recognize immediately that Abbie is a guide dog.

“I really think they should have known that I was blind just by seeing me by my guide dog. They should’ve known that she’s a guide dog by the fact that she’s wearing a harness. The fact that they weren’t able to identify that shows a deficiency in their training,” he said.

The CEO of B.C. Guide Dogs believes the Mounties unnecessarily escalated the situation.

“To put a person who has a guide dog in a police cruiser is just beyond my comprehension. I can’t understand how that would be the first step taken by a police officer. It’s atrocious,” said Bill Thornton.

He said when Fulton offered the officers his guide dog identification card, they should’ve taken a look at it.

“We’ve had guide dogs and service dogs in Canada for such a long time. It’s very disappointing to hear this type of event taking place.”

According to the B.C. Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, a guide and service dog is allowed to enter and use any place where the public is invited or has access to.

A Shell Canada spokesperson said they are working to understand what happened in the situation.

“Sales associates are expected to treat all customers with care and respect…We have reached out to the independent retailer who operates this site, along with the local RCMP, to further understand this incident,” said spokesperson Kristen Schmidt.

To prevent a similar situation from happening to anyone else, Fulton is in the process of filing a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

“It’s the best venue for having human rights enforced in the province. It’s important for me to not let this go unnoticed – for it to be swept under the rug,” Fulton said.


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16Jun

‘All I ever asked for’: Homeless Vancouver man’s dog returned safely

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Dave M., a homeless man who didn’t want his last name used, said his American Eskimo dog Cutiepie was stolen on Granville Street. He’s holding a poster May 29 that he hoped would help him find his dog.


Mike Bell / PNG

Cutiepie the dog has been reunited with her owner.

Late last month the fluffy, white American Eskimo pooch had vanished from the makeshift home she shares with her owner Dave M. out front of the Hudson’s Bay store on Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver.

Dave, who declined to give his full last name, said he had left his beloved dog with his belongings while he used the washroom May 24 and when he returned, she was gone.

Shortly after Postmedia News first reported the story, Dave started getting tips from passersby. In one instance, an international exchange student came up to Dave and showed him photographs they had snapped of a dog on a SkyTrain car around the time of her disappearance. It was Cutiepie, Dave said with conviction. From those photos he knew she was with someone.

Eventually, the tips that came in bore fruit, and last week the dog was returned to Dave in perfect health. She was freshly bathed and had supped on kibble and canned tuna and salmon before she went home.

“I’m very blessed to have her back,” Dave said Sunday. “I got my dog back and that’s all I ever asked for.”

Dave said he gave Cutiepie some beef jerky when she came home. She was very hungry, but probably because she was stressed, he said.

Dave said people walking by are happy to see her back. “Everybody knows Cutiepie,” he said.

What had happened, according to an account from the person who had Cutiepie, was they believed the dog had been abandoned when they saw her without any owner present. Cutiepie hadn’t been leashed at the time. Several days after taking the dog home they learned that she was, in fact, well-missed and wanted back at home very badly.

On Sunday, when a Postmedia photographer met with Dave, Cutiepie was on a leash and bore a big doggie grin.

The B.C. SPCA is among the groups that provide services to help those living on the streets care for their pets. The society offers a range of necessary goods and services, including veterinary care, through its Charlie’s pet food-bank initiative. It’s a volunteer-run program and it relies on donations.

The most-needed donations are unopened wet or dry pet food, cat litter and hay for small pets, according to the SPCA. Those goods can be dropped off at the society’s Vancouver branch. Cash donations can be given at any branch and donors can earmark their gifts for Charlie’s pet food bank if they so wish.

Anyone concerned about the well-being of any animal can call the SPCA at 1-855-622-7722.

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29May

SPCA promotes human-pet bond after dog stolen from Vancouver homeless man

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Dave M., a homeless man who didn’t want his last name used, says his Alaskan Eskimo dog Cutiepie was stolen on Granville Street. He’s holding a poster he is hoping will help him find his dog.


Mike Bell / PNG

The bond between humans and animals is so powerful that the mental and physical health of a pet owner can be lifted just by having their animal in their life, according to the SPCA.

Despite that, there is still some stigma toward pet ownership by people who are living on the streets, spokeswoman for the B.C. SPCA, Lorie Chortyk, said Wednesday.

The animal welfare organization is among the groups that work to support relationships between homeless people — many of whom have been through tough times in their lives — and their pets.

“Often for these individuals this is the first time they’ve ever experienced unconditional love,” Chortyk said.

“I think anyone who’s had a pet understands how powerful that bond is. But if you haven’t experienced that unconditional love, that bond is even stronger. And those individuals protect that animal and protect that bond even more.”


Dave M., a homeless man who didn’t want his last name used, says his Alaskan Eskimo dog Cutiepie was stolen on Granville Street. He’s holding a poster he is hoping will help him find his dog.

Mike Bell /

PNG

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Chortyk’s comments came a few days after a white American Eskimo dog named Cutiepie was stolen from a man living on the sidewalk out front of the Hudson’s Bay department store on Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver.

Dave M, who declined to give his full last name, said he had left Cutiepie with his belongings while he used the washroom around 2:30 p.m. Friday. When he returned, the dog was gone. A frantic search of the surrounding streets was fruitless.

Cutiepie has been in Dave’s life for about six years. He presumed the then-eight-year-old dog had been abandoned before she arrived at his house in Mission, he said.

Asked if he knew who might have taken his dog, Dave said: “I’ve heard a couple people say (to the dog) ‘we’re going to give you a good home’, like, maybe four walls and a roof. … but I spend 24 hours a day with my dog. I take care of her. She’s my baby.”


Dave M., a homeless man who didn’t want his last name used, says his Alaskan Eskimo dog Cutiepie was stolen on Granville Street.

Mike Bell /

PNG

Dave, who has lived on the street for the past eight months, described Cutiepie as looking like a polar bear, with white hair, short little legs, a small head and a fat body. She’s a calm dog who loved being petted and she would spend hours in his lap being groomed, he said.

Dave asked anyone who has seen Cutiepie to alert the SPCA or the VPD, with whom he said he has filed a police report.

The SPCA has a program to help people who live on the streets care for their pets, and in Chortyk’s experience, people in that situation tend to be “so dedicated” to that cause.

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“Certainly, we’ve met a lot of people who will go without food themselves in order to make sure that their pets are well taken care of,” she said.

Through its Charlie’s pet food bank initiative, the SPCA offers things like nail trims, training tips, veterinary care, surgeries and referrals, as well as food, toys, carriers and leashes. The program is open to donations.

If anyone is concerned about the well-being of any animal they can contact the SPCA at 1-855-622-7722, and the organization can send out a staff member to assess the situation. If needed, they can either take the animal into care or try to help the owner, Chortyk said.

Studies and surveys around the world have repeatedly shown the importance pets can have in the lives of street-involved people, according to a 2014 research review written by Emma Woolley in her capacity as a research assistant with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

Woolley referenced a 2012 paper by Leslie Irvine, titled Animals as Lifechangers and Lifesavers: Pets in the Redemption Narratives of Homeless People, who conducted a series of interviews at pet clinics in the U.S. and found pets had led their owners to give up drugs, escape depression or even choose to continue living.

A Chihuahua was stolen from a panhandler around East Hastings and Nanaimo St. last year, according to CBC. The dog was later recovered by police after it was spotted by a good Samaritan.

Steve Addison, a VPD spokesman, encouraged anyone with information about a crime to call police. He said VPD did not have readily available data on the frequency of pets being stolen.

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13Mar

Hot dog! Kelowna pooch back at home after video captures it being led from yard

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Atlas the dog is homeward bound.

Kelowna RCMP, in a statement, said the pooch, allegedly stolen from his owner’s father’s backyard on Saturday, has been found and reunited with his worried family.

Video from a neighbour’s security camera shows a woman leading the 18-month-old golden retriever from the backyard under the glow of streetlights in the Okanagan city.

That led to his family going public, pleading for tips about where he was taken.

Police said the dog was returned to his owner Wednesday afternoon.

“Over the past few days Kelowna RCMP have received numerous tips from the public and continued to follow up on a number of potential leads.” Const. Lesley Smith said in a statement.

“While working closely with the complainant, our members were able to track down Atlas’ location.”

Police say their investigation is ongoing.


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4Feb

Visually impaired student and guide dog asked to provide ID multiple times a day

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Georgia Pike is fed up being stopped in public and asked for identification.

The fourth-year student at the University of Victoria is visually impaired and relies on her service dog, Grainger, to get around.

But not everyone believes her.

“People will come up to me and say, ‘is your dog a service dog?'” she said. “I say yes and they say, ‘can we see some I.D. for it?'”

It’s become an almost daily occurrence.

Pike was recently stopped multiple times in the same mall by different security guards and, once, was asked three times for identification while trying to board a ferry.

“It’s become quite debilitating, recently, because it happens so often,” she told Gregor Craigie, the host of CBC’s On The Island.

“I’ll sometimes just opt out of trips with friends because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

She carries a wallet stuffed full of IDs — one from the training school and one from the government for her dog and four indicating that she is visually impaired — but said constantly being asked to prove herself points to a larger issue.

“People with disabilities in B.C. … have to prove to random strangers day in and day out that they have the right to be in a public location,” she said.

“It’s constantly reminding people that they have a disability and that we’re different.”

It’s easy to prove that Grainger is a guide dog — he has two pieces of ID indicating it — but the bigger question, Pike says, is why it’s necessary to always have to keep producing them. (Gregor Craigie/CBC)

Provincewide problem

Pike is not the only one being stopped and asked to prove the legitimacy of their service animal, according to the CEO of B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs, William Thornton.

He said he’s heard of several similar cases, recently, with at least one person being denied entry to a business.

“This subject really is more about fraudulent dogs than it is about the legitimate dogs,” Thornton said.

“There’s great abuse out there with people buying equipment online — I.D. cards and jackets and then saying that they are a legitimate dog.”

His organization runs education programs to help businesses distinguish between legitimate service dogs and fraudulent ones.

Pike agreed more education is key.

When she’s out with Grainger, she said, there are keys signs that he’s working: he’s not sniffing around or misbehaving, he doesn’t bark, and they are constantly communicating with hand signals.

“What I would love to see is that businesses are trained and educated on how to spot a service dog,” she said.

“I feel so safe being guided by him and it’s people around me who are interrupting our work and interrupting our day.”

Georgia Pike is a 4th year student at the University of Victoria, who is visually-impaired and says she is increasingly stopped in public and asked to prove that her guide dog, Grainger, is really a guide dog. Georgia has all of the proper documentation, but she says she’s asked for ID every day, sometimes multiple times a day. She tells Gregor Craigie why she’s tired of being asked, and what she would like to have done about it. 8:49

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2Feb

Vancouver woman fights strata to keep emotional support dog

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Stephanie Kallstrom has filed a human rights complaint against her strata to keep her emotional service dog, Ember.


Francis Georgian / Postmedia News

A few months after adopting a border collie mix, Stephanie Kallstrom was able to stop using the anti-anxiety medications she had taken since her teens.

Now, the Vancouver woman is fighting to keep the dog — named Ember — despite her strata’s strict pet policy.

“She (Ember) changed my life,” Kallstrom said Saturday. “I assumed she’d be accommodated here because she’s been accommodated on airplanes, in hotels and at the hospital.”

Kallstrom’s downtown condo allows residents to keep up to two dogs, but she argues Ember shouldn’t be counted in that total because she acts as an emotional support animal (ESA). Kallstrom also has two small poodles.

In B.C., ESAs are not considered service dogs or guide dogs, which are legally allowed in strata properties. In January 2016, the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act came into effect, giving certified handlers “access rights equal to those enjoyed by all members of the public,” according to a provincial government press release.

It also provided a way for dog handlers whose dogs were not trained by an accredited school to apply for certification and have the animals tested by the Justice Institute.

But Kallstrom feels there should be some middle ground. While she plans to go through the process of getting Ember certified as a service dog, she’s concerned that other ESAs wouldn’t be able to pass the rigorous testing required.

“Many people need their ESAs as a vital part of their health, but they couldn’t pass,” she said. “There should be a specific certification for ESAs.”

A quick internet search brings up a host of sites claiming to certify ESAs. For less than $100 and the time it takes to answer a few questions, owners can obtain certificates, vests and collars to identify their animals.

“I realize there’s a lot of fake emotional support dogs out there,” said Kallstrom. “But there’s also a lot of legitimate ones, and there should be some way to tell the difference.”

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The Vancouver woman is open about her struggles with mental health, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression, which have dogged her since she was 10 years of age. After adopting Ember in Abbotsford in 2014, she was able to stop taking medication, a milestone witnessed by her doctor, who provided her with a letter recognizing the dog’s assistance.

As a result, Ember has been allowed on flights, in hotels and department stores. When Kallstrom had surgery at a Vancouver hospital, the dog was permitted in her room during recovery.

“She uses tactile stimulation to avoid a crisis and keep me safe,” she said. “She can sense what I’m feeling, and she’s there with a lick or a nudge or a paw.”

On Saturday, Ember sat quietly on Kallstrom’s couch, her nose resting on her paws, her large brown eyes tracking movements. Later, on a noisy city street, she walked calmly beside her owner.

The use of ESAs has increased dramatically in the last decade. A 2015 study by researchers at the University of California found a tenfold increase in the number of animals used for psychiatric services registered by animal control facilities in California between 2000 and 2002 compared to 2010 and 2012.

ESAs have also been the subject of dozens of news stories and viral videos. Last week, a Pennsylvania man made headlines when he said his emotional support alligator helped him deal with his depression. In January 2018, airline staff stopped an emotional support peacock from flying with its owner.

In January, both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines tightened their rules around ESAs, saying they will no longer allow ESA puppies and kittens under four months old and barring them completely on longer flights. The airlines cited complaints about allergies, soiled cabins and aggressive animals for the change.

The blurring of the line between legitimate service dogs and emotional support dogs can cause problems for people with certified service dogs, Tara Doherty, spokeswoman for Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADs), told Postmedia News in a previous interview.

“We’ve had reports of businesses not being open to certified service dogs because of their experiences with an ill-behaved dog,” she said. “It’s a significant concern because it creates a bad reputation for legitimate service dogs.”

Kallstrom has filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to argue her case.

With Postmedia files

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3Jan

Trampoline park apologizes for denying entry to B.C. boy’s service dog

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A Langley, B.C. trampoline park is apologizing to a local family after refusing entry to a boy’s service dog.

Danica Dutt said she took her brother, Kai Chand, to Extreme Air Park Wednesday. The 11-year-old has autism, and has a registered, professionally trained service dog named Rosie who came along.

Rosie, who Kai describes as his best friend, has tags, permits and paperwork in her vest, and Danica told CTV News she and Kai had photos of their service ID cards on them.

But before Kai could even get to the trampolines, a staff member told them the dog would have to leave as she was not needed, Danica said.

She said she was told the facility only allowed dogs with a “purpose,” such as seeing-eye dogs, are allowed in the facility.

“I explained to her, ‘Oh no, the dog’s going to sit with me in the waiting area,’ and she says, ‘No, your dog’s not allowed,'” Danica said in an interview Thursday.

She told CTV staff didn’t look at their paperwork or IDs, and when she tried to get a refund, staff refused. Instead, she said, they offered a credit so Kai and Danica could return without Rosie.

“But what good is a credit when Kai’s service dog is denied access because she’s not ‘needed?'” Danica wrote in a Facebook post which has been shared nearly 3,000 times. 

Her brother, who did not understand what was happening, then began to cry, Danica said.

She told CTV he was so excited he even begged her to buy him a T-shirt with the park’s logo on it. The one-hour visit was supposed to be his reward for “being really good that day,” she said.

In the end, his mother came and brought the dog home so Kai’s day wasn’t ruined, but Danica said she felt the situation was not handled professionally.

“The fact that they said Kai’s dog wasn’t needed broke my heart because they don’t get to decide who needs a service dog and who doesn’t,” she said.

She explained that the dog’s role is to help keep him calm.

“When he gets overstiumlated he self-hurts and he screams and cries, and having this dog there can just give him a moment to step back and have some relief,” she said.

“I just want Kai to be treated as an equal. That’s all I want. And I want people to know that his service dog is there to help him.”

Kai’s mother, Tara Allen, ended up recording part of her interaction with an employee.

“It was just kind of mindblowing that they turn them away and wouldn’t refund their money,” she said.

She told CTV she’d called and asked to speak to the manager, but staff wouldn’t provide contact information.

“I think they just need to educate themselves on kids with special needs or service dogs,” Tara said.

William Thornton, CEO of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, said the organization will be following up with the company about their policy. Rosie was trained by BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, one of the only accredited schools in the province.

“Wherever the public has access or is paying to go in is a public domain by definition and these dogs are allowed to enter that building,” he explained.

“I think the public are still playing a little bit of catch-up, that there are other types of dogs and the need is not as obvious to a person that has a hidden disability.”

B.C.’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Act makes it an offense to deny a certified dog and handler team access or accomodation, and those convicted could be fined up to $3,000. More information about the act is available on the province’s website

In an email, Extreme Air Park told CTV services dogs are welcome, and staff do their best to accommodate all customers’ needs. In the statement, staff said that the issue arose during a conversation about the dog going into the trampoline area.

They said they’d reached out to Danica but had not heard back.

Kai’s sister confirmed that she did receive an apology over social media, as well as an offer for free access for a year. She showed CTV a screen grab of a message from Instagram sent by an account called “extremeairparkscanada” which read in part, “The person that our staff talked to on the phone regarding your service dog was misinformed.”

The sender, who appeared to be one of the owners of the park, said he was sorry and that he knew the year jump pass wouldn’t make up for their experience, but that he wanted to provide a positive experience in the future for all, including Rosie.

“I know how important animals are and how much of a difference they can make in people’s lives,” the message read.

Despite the offer, the family doesn’t think they’ll return.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber


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