Saks Fifth Avenue / veterans service animal

Phoenix, United States

May 30, 2015
At Saks Fifth Avenue, Biltmore Fashion Park
Phoenix, Arizona

At Saks Fifth Avenue, Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix, Arizona: I witnessed a very humiliating and sad event concerning highly trained working service dogs and their volunteer owner handlers. As a small group of seven dogs and handlers made their way past counters and without any problems or incidents from the service animals, an employee for no reason at all asked the handler group to leave the store.

Now, these are not ordinary working dogs. They are trained to protect and perform duties for those handicapped wounded warriors, (Veterans), who can have a more useful and productive life because of them. The handlers were showing a shopping experience to the animals again without incident so they would do the same in any duty to help those handicapped warriors.
It is against the law of this great country to hinder service animals and their owners.

Definitions for C.F.R. § 36.202 are provided by the ADA.
“Accessible” Refers to a site, facility, work environment, service, or program that is easy to approach, enter, operate, participate in, and/or use safely and with dignity by a person with a disability.
“Major Life Activity” Refers to activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty.
“Person/Individuals with disability” (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; OR (2) has a record of such as an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
“Physical Impairment” Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
“Public Accommodation” Facilities whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of the following 12 categories: places of lodging (e.g., inns, hotels, motels) (except for owner-occupied establishments renting fewer than six rooms); establishments serving food or drink (e.g., restaurants and bars); places of exhibition or entertainment (e.g., motion picture houses, theaters, concert halls, stadiums); places of public gathering (e.g., auditoriums, convention centers, lecture halls); sales or rental establishments (e.g., bakeries, grocery stores, hardware stores, shopping centers); service establishments (e.g., laundromats, dry-cleaners, banks, barber shops, beauty shops, travel services, shoe repair services, funeral parlors, gas stations, offices of accountants or lawyers, pharmacies, insurance offices, professional offices of health care providers, hospitals); public transportation terminals, depots, or stations (not including facilities relating to air transportation); places of public display or collection (e.g., museums, libraries, galleries); places of recreation (e.g., parks, zoos, amusement parks); places of education (e.g., nursery schools, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private schools); social service center establishments (e.g., day care centers, senior citizen centers, homeless shelters, food banks, adoption agencies); and places of exercise or recreation (e.g., gymnasiums, health spas, bowling alleys, golf courses).
“Service animal” Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

I believe those others that witnessed this action are questioning shopping at your stores in the future. These beautiful and intelligent animals are extensions of the owner’s life for any needs to make it better. As the niece of a disabled veteran myself I felt very embarrassed and upset for the good people who have volunteered their time and money to prepare these animals for the job ahead.

I think your store employees at The Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix should be ashamed for their actions and give room and courtesy to those special individuals and animals helping the handicapped and wounded. I for one would now think twice about shopping at your stores.

May 31, 2015

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