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Valley woman says she was refused transportation because of service dog

Posted at 5:12 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-03 21:53:04-05

Sophie, the service dog, is learning to grab groceries, help with laundry, and most importantly help owner Melinda Mills get around.

Because of a condition that limits Melinda's mobility, Sophie goes everywhere with her.

Including doctors appointments. 

But she says after reserving rides through her insurance provider, "they would come in, and they would drive off as soon as they saw the dog."

She says sometimes even if they did get a ride to appointments; there was no guarantee they'd one get home.

"One of the wheelchair vans came and picked me up, and they saw the dog, and they just drove off, and I sat there in the dark for over an hour," she says.

She says she filed complaints, and got assurances that the problem would be corrected. Still, Melinda says nothing changed.

"After a couple of months, I said I've had it," and she let me know.

Better Business Bureau/ABC15 volunteer Grant took over, working his way up the chain.

"Grant just seemed to go door to door until he got to the top," Melinda says.

After months of emails, phone calls, and follow-ups, he says sure Melinda got the attention she need.

Now she says, "it's been 90 to 100 percent better."

She has a direct line to a supervisor to make her appointments and only drivers that can accommodate Sophie are sent to pick them up.

"No problem with the dog whatsoever," she said.

The Americans with Disabilities act dictates your rights when it comes to service animals in public places.  

Get more of your questions answered here