Bay area woman, dog caught in service animal debate

A dispute arises over how to classify service dogs and other animals.

Drawing a line between service animals and pets in public places.

It's a story that's got a lot you talking on the 10News WTSP Facebook page.

Maine is handing out a $1,000 fine to anyone who tries to pass off a regular pet as a "registered service animal or assistance animal."

For Elisha Griggs having her 1-year-old Pomeranian, Onyx, with her at all times is important.

“She stays calm and relaxed, so it helps me stay calm and relaxed,” says Griggs.

Griggs suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, her dog is an emotional support animal.

So, she was upset when she says she was denied service at a Bradenton McDonald's the other day, for having Onyx with her.

“The manager told me no pets were allowed and I was like she’s not a pet, she’s a service animal,” says Griggs.

“Griggs said she came to her vehicle and got this doctor's note that says her dog is an ESA but the employee said this wasn't good enough,”

That's because there's a difference between a "service dog" and a "companion animal" which is used for emotional support.

In fact, according to the Americans with Disability Act emotional support dogs like Onyx don't qualify as "service animals".

10News also contacted McDonald's which released a statement:

"We welcome customers to our restaurant with *service animals*. We have reached out to the customers to resolve the issue.


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