Service dog denied at IRS

By: Kelly Asmuth Email
By: Kelly Asmuth Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - It's video you'll only see on 11 News. Our cameras were rolling when the Grand Junction IRS office blocked a handicapped man and his service dog from entering the building on 25 Road.

John Wright tried twice Tuesday to pick up forms from the IRS with his service dog. The American Disabilities Act requires businesses to allow easy access to handicapped customers, and their dogs. No special identification is necessary.

"She just started yelling, 'Get that dog out of here,'" says Wright. Wright says he's been using a service dog since 2002 under doctor's orders for seizures and other symptoms. "She (his dog) alerts me for symptoms of post concussive syndrome which is dizziness, disorientation, extreme headaches and loss of sight."

The IRS says they would've allowed Wright and his dog in that morning on his first arrival. However, officials say he wouldn't clearly divulge whether the dog was for medical use.
Wright returned that afternoon.

11 News footage shows Wright showing a dog vest reading "service dog" to the security guard and IRS employees standing nearby, who still wouldn't let him in. By law, the dog doesn't have to be marked, even though Wright had already disclosed the K9 vest.

Wright was forced to wait until police showed in order to be allowed through. "They think they can stomp all over disabled people's rights... but they expect everybody to follow all of their laws and regulations," says Wright.

The IRS wouldn't comment on Wright's second visit, when he showed the service dog's identifiable vest. The police on the scene say they've had dealings with Wright and his dog in the past.


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