Woman, Service Dog Kicked Out Of Norman Business; Discrimination Claimed

Tuesday, July 23rd 2013, 10:38 pm
By: News 9

A disabled woman says she was kicked out of a metro business for bringing her service dog inside. Witnesses are backing up her story.

Purcell resident Connie Sanders says she was discriminated against for having a disability. For five years, Sanders has owned a service dog named Jack. She says she goes everywhere with her four-legged friend and has never experienced complete rejection until a recent trip to CSL Plasma Center in Norman.

Jack is a well-mannered Great Dane. He works to keep Sanders balanced, and he prevents anxiety caused by PTSD.

"Every once in a while I'll have a flash back, or I will get extremely anxious," said Sanders. "He'll alert before it gets bad. He's basically like my wheelchair. I can't go anywhere without him."

On Tuesday, Sanders drove her fiancée to donate at CSL Plasma, 1327 E. Lindsey Street in Norman. Her plan was to get out of the heat and sit with Jack in the waiting room. Sanders says Jack has been to the center before, but this time was different.

"They kicked her out," said witness Ethan Sack. "They said they would have to disconnect her [fiancée early] from donating."

Sanders says she showed staff credentials to identify Jack as a service dog, but she was still told to get lost. Customers say Jack was calm and was not bothering anyone. News 9 went to CSL Plasma looking for answers Tuesday, but employees asked the crew to leave without answering questions.

"I don't think that they would have had to be kicked out," said Sack. "If you go to churches or 7-11 with [service dogs], they're not going to ask you to leave."

Sanders says she is now banned from CSL Plasma Center in Norman. Sanders tells News 9 she is considering legal action against the company.