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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-Free Bakery Sued for Denying Vets with Service Dogs

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A pair of disabled veterans recently filed suit against gluten-free bakery, claiming that it denied them service due to their service dogs.


    Caption: Photo: CC--DoDNews

    Celiac.com 02/27/2018 - A pair of disabled veterans recently filed a federal lawsuit against a gluten-free bakery, Aimee's Love, and the city of Longmont, Colorado. The suit claims that on two separate occasions the bakery owners and the city both violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when they refused to serve the couple due to the presence of their service dogs.

    The suit also contends that Aimee's Love violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, and that the city violated the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Blocks are seeking unspecified damages. Under the ADA, people with disabilities may bring animals into businesses and other buildings where they would usually be excluded.

    The Blocks allege that they were first denied service by the bakery on March 8, when they attempted to enter with a Great Dane named Rajah, which they term a "service animal in training." The Blocks claim they asked the owners to familiarize themselves with federal laws regarding service animals. They claim that they were later denied service a second time, when they tried to enter the bakery with a different dog.

    According to Jennifer and Gary Block, Longmont police officers responded to the second incident improperly by wrongly making the couple and their dog leave the business. A Longmont police report claims the couple left on their own after the first incident, and that the bakery owners merely asked if the dogs were legitimate service dogs.

    It was during the second incident that the police told the Blocks and their dog to leave the bakery, the suit alleges. The suit also contends that the bakery owners and police violated federal disability law by demanding "proof" that the Blocks' dog was indeed a service animal.

    Under federal law, business owners may ask if a dog is a service animal and what task it performs, but can't ask any further questions of the dog's handler. They are not allowed to ask for "proof" that the service animal is "legitimate."

    Stay tuned for more news on this and other gluten-free-related stories.

    Read more at: Timescall.com


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    I've run into this same issue a the restaurant where I work. With a mixed international clientele, it becomes confusing to clientele when some are allow to bring in dogs, while others are not. Over the years, two owners have provided papers for their service-in-training dogs. (The most recent had a rather n00b K9 that did not meet even the protocol for "5 yearr-old child". And we mutually agreed that she would not bring her in again.) But not being permitted to ask to see documentation... THAT'S A BUNCH OF NONSENSE. Is the writer sure this is correct? Otherwise any old schmoe could bring in any old ____ and claim that it was a "service ____". I'm hyper-skeptical of this.

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    I live in Longmont, Colorado, have celiac disease, am a veteran, and frequent Aime's Love Bakery. Longmont is great community for dining out because it is a very gluten-free friendly town. Restaurants are put in the untenable position of committing health code violations when it comes to animals...service animals being the exception. Readers should be aware that the local paper, The Times-Call, reported that the Blocks were recording the whole incident which police thought strange if it wasn't premeditated and produced a service dog ID to the responding officers once outside Aime's. Police said the whole thing would have gone away if the Blocks had merely shown the ID card when asked. While not required it would have been a simple solution to a non-existent problem. I am left to wonder if the Blocks must eat gluten-free for medical reasons.

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    Guest Annie Flanders

    Posted

    as a disabled person i am sad to see this happening. it was bad enough that the church i was part of for 11 years decided that people with service animals were not worthy to be church members, so bodily ejected the disabled people and who wanted to go there, along with their service dogs, and told them never to return [they also locked the handicap doors to prevent people with wheelchairs and walkers from attending] - but now businesses are also doing the same thing!!! this is egregious.

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    It has recently been reported that airlines are having a lot of problems with people claiming animals to be "service animals" or "emotional support animals" to avoid paying for bringing them along. The final straw for United was the peacock that someone claimed was an emotional support animal. They are now requiring documentation for emotional support animals, and animals "in training" are treated like pets, not like service animals. The ADA does NOT consider animals in training to be covered by its provisions, so the plaintiffs' first visit was handled correctly, and coming with an unauthorized animal one time is certainly an understandable reason for the owners to be skeptical the second time.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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