Boy with service dog turned away from hospital

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Kentucky Protection and Advocacy filed a lawsuit Jan. 12 on behalf of a 12-year-old boy who was denied access to a hospital because he insisted on being accompanied by his service dog.

For safety reasons, the boy, who has autism and Down Syndrome, is accompanied by his dog at all times. An hour prior to the boy’s arrival, his mother notified the hospital of the boy’s situation.

The employee at the hospital did not object. But when the boy arrived, he was notified he would not be able to bring his dog into the hospital rooms and treatment areas for health and safety reasons.

According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the hospital’s policy “constitutes a refusal to provide reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures, thereby depriving (the boy) and other persons with disabilities who use service animals of their right to fill and equal access to places of public accommodation in violation of the (Americans with Disabilities Act).”

Kentucky Protection and Advocacy is part of the federally funded protection and advocacy system and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.