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Service Dog Complaint to go Before Judge

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EUGENE, Ore. —  A local woman says she was asked to leave a local business because her service dogs were not allowed inside. Now, more than a year later, her complaint will go before a judge.

Michel Hilt-Hayden says she is a person with disabilities whose rights to public access were denied.

The complaint says when Hilt-Hayden and her husband went to the Duck Stop Market on Franklin Boulevard April 17 of last year. They were asked to leave by the owner, Kara Johnson, because the dogs weren’t allowed inside even though they were service dogs.

The complaint says when Hilt-Hayden returned the next day with documents about service dogs, and that Johnson yelled at her and told her no again.

“After a very and thorough investigation our investigators determined there was substantial evidence of unlawful discrimination,” said Charlie Burr, Communications Director for the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Kara Johnson’s lawyers say the market is defending the case, in support of people with disabilities and their service animals. In a statement, they say “Duck Stop Market welcomes people with disabilities and their service animals, and displays a sign near its front entrance stating ‘service animals welcome.’ On April 17, 2013, Duck Stop Market denied access to two dogs brought into the store by Michel Hilt-Hayden because the two dogs were not ‘service animals’ as defined by state and federal law. At no time did Duck Stop Market deny Michel Hilt-Hayden access to the store.”

When the case goes to court Tuesday, the judge will make an order and the Commissioner of Labor and Industries will hand down the official ruling.

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