SAGINAW, Mich. (WWJ) – A spokesperson for Leader Dogs for the Blind in Michigan says it was against the law for a taxi company in Saginaw to have denied a blind woman and her service dog a ride.
Holt Transportation reportedly says it has a strict no animal policy, and that some of its clients are allergic to dogs.READ MORE: The Detroit Zoo To Host Its Final Weekend Of Family-Friendly Halloween Event 'Zoo Boo' Oct. 22-24
But that’s no excuse, says Rachelle Kniffen, with Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills.
“Allergies are not a reason for denial,” Kniffen told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Beth Fisher. “Under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) law, people using a service animal — such as a Leader Dog or a guide dog from another guide dog organization — are not allowed to be able to be turned away from public transportation.”
Cheryl McIntosh told Saginaw TV station WNEM that the company had been giving her rides home from work for several days, until they told her they could no longer do so because of her dog.READ MORE: Tillson Street's Halloween Displays Draws Thousands
She told WNEM she has been blind most of her life, but that hasn’t stopped her from living just like everyone else, until now. “The biggest disability is the barriers that we put in our own path,” McIntosh said.
Another area taxi company, Yellow Cab, has reportedly agreed to provide service to McIntosh and her dog.
“That’s great news,” Kniffen said. “Most places, once you stop and you explain to them, they understand.”
“Very often, it’s not that, you know, the company is trying to be mean to the person…They often don’t understand the laws behind it and everything that ADA requires,” she said.MORE NEWS: Kalamazoo Tests For Lead Exposure Following High-Lead Level Reports In Other Michigan Cities
WWJ has a call out to Holt Transportation for comment.