TARGET 8: Man Files Complaint Against Menards Over Service Dog

5 years 3 months 4 days ago Monday, November 19 2012 Nov 19, 2012 Monday, November 19, 2012 3:29:00 PM CST November 19, 2012 in News
By: Stacey Welsh
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - Patrick Wissinger said his service dog, Kurban, was wearing a red and black tag on his leash with the words "service dog" prominently displayed when the two walked into Menards in Jefferson City on August 7. Wissinger said he felt humiliated when a store manager asked him to leave with the dog. "He kept making a stink about it. He stalked us around the store, which just had me on edge the whole time," Wissinger said. He also said the manager's actions distracted Kurban. "He was too busy keeping an eye out," Wissinger said.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employees are only allowed to ask the following two questions when a guest brings a dog into the store:

1) Is the dog a service dog required because of a disability?

2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

The act states store employees cannot ask about a person's disability or require medical documentation for the guest. The ADA also states those employees cannot ask for an identification card for the dog or ask that a dog demonstrate its service abilities.

The store called the Jefferson City Police Department after asking Wissinger to leave. Jefferson City Police Captain Doug Shoemaker confirmed officers responded to the store when employees questioned whether Kurban was a service dog.The ADA states a person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless:

1) The dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it

2) The dog is not housebroken

No accounts from the police department, Menards or Wissinger name Kurban's behavior as a factor in the incident. Wissinger says he has a disability that is not visually obvious. He says he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and intermittent vertigo after serving as a U.S. Army staff sergeant in Iraq from about 2004 to 2005. He said he sustained inner ear damage that led to vertigo from repeated blasts, exposures and gun shots. Wissinger said Kurban can sense when vertigo hits and braces against him. Wissinger also said Kurban calms him during anxiety attacks.

"He needs his service dog to function individually without me necessarily being there," fiance Aleks Wissinger said. She was with them the day of the incident. "Approaching anyone with a disability the way Patrick was approached is going to cause high anxiety, and it is very embarrassing."

Chuck Graham is an ADA policy analyst with the Great Plains ADA Center in Columbia. "If a person with a disability feels they were discriminated against, they can call and ask us for information." Graham also said the use of service dogs for people with "hidden" disabilities is becoming more widespread. "I think a lot of people understand ramps and grab rails and wheelchairs and parking spots, but a lot of times they don't understand... mental disabilities or something not quite as obvious," Graham said.

According to the 2010 ADA Revised Requirements, the disabilities Wissinger claims are recognized by the federal government. The requirements cite "calming a person with... PTSD during an anxiety attack" as an example of a task a service dog could be trained to perform. "If they did go beyond the scope of asking was this just a service animal and what tasks is he trained to do... then yes, they did violate the ADA," MU School of Law Associate Professor Brad Desnoyer said. Desnoyer teaches legal research and writing.

KOMU 8 News reached out to Menards for a response to the incident, and spokesman Jeff Abbott replied by e-mail: "Menards complies with State and Federal Law as it relates to providing reasonable accommodations to our guests and team members. When Mr. Wissinger entered the Jefferson City Menards store with his animal, he was simply asked whether or not his dog was a service animal. Upon being told that the dog was a service animal, Menards allowed Mr. Wissinger to complete his shopping."

Because the above statement does not address the police involvement or Wissinger's claims of embarrassment, KOMU 8 News asked for specific responses to those concerns. In response, a second e-mail stated, "It is unfortunate that the Guest felt humiliated as that certainly was not our intent. As previously mentioned, Menards complies with State and Federal law as it relates to providing reasonable accommodations to our guests and team members. The Jefferson City Police Department was called, but only to confirm that the Jefferson City Menards was complying with all laws and regulations related to service animals."

Wissinger has since filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against Menards and specifically T.J. Peterson, the assistant general manager Wissinger claims followed him around the store. Peterson refused to comment on the incident, saying Menards corporate issued KOMU 8 News the statements.

The DOJ could file suit against Menards if it found an ADA violation, but Patrick and Aleks Wissinger said a payout is not their goal. "We want to educate the businesses," Aleks Wissinger said. "The best thing that could come from this case, more than monetary damages, is just an awareness of what it is to have a disability... and how we can have these service animals, how they can benefit individuals," Desnoyer said.

The two also said they want an apology from Peterson and Menards, but it has not come.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Police increased their presence at area schools Friday following an investigation into a reported threat. The investigation... More >>
40 minutes ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 Friday, February 23, 2018 1:46:00 PM CST February 23, 2018 in News
REPUBLIC (AP) — Police have seized five guns and two books from a 13-year-old boy officers allege had threatened... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 Friday, February 23, 2018 12:39:46 PM CST February 23, 2018 in News
BELLAFONTAINE NEIGHBORS (AP) — Police have found three dead in what officers suspect is a murder-suicide in a St.... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 Friday, February 23, 2018 12:34:52 PM CST February 23, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Seven people have been indicted in a Kansas City drug-trafficking conspiracy that included two... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 Friday, February 23, 2018 10:24:18 AM CST February 23, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Eric Greitens will step down from the Republican Governors Association's executive committee amid backlash from... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 Friday, February 23, 2018 10:12:00 AM CST February 23, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on the indictment of Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (all times local):... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 Friday, February 23, 2018 8:34:00 AM CST February 23, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - The Pantry is offering people a chance to donate food and help the community on Friday. The... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, February 23 2018 Feb 23, 2018 Friday, February 23, 2018 7:49:00 AM CST February 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his proposal to arm teachers. KOMU 8 asked educators and other mid-Missourians... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 6:50:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in Top Stories
FULTON - The Callaway County Sheriff’s Office is requesting a more than $9,000 grant from the Missouri Department of... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 6:20:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For those who watch the winter Olympics and think "I could do that", there is an opportunity... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 6:02:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – No. 11 Mizzou will look to keep the good times rolling on Senior Night tonight as they tip... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:58:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA - It's the day Tigers fans have been waiting for; the return of Michael Porter Jr. Mizzou Athletics... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:50:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Eric Greitens is calling his indictment on invasion of privacy a "disappointing and misguided political decision."... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:19:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Six Fulton residents were sentenced in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:02:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The future of driving lies in electric and autonomous driving vehicles according to speakers at Jefferson City's... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 3:24:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Missouri lawmaker want to make roads better by raising fees at the DMW and cutting income tax... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 3:18:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker who called for the vandal of a Confederate monument to be hanged won't... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 3:08:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Tuskegee Airman told stories of his time in a segregated military while speaking at a Black History... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 2:13:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 38°
3pm 50°
4pm 49°
5pm 49°
6pm 48°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
4:00p
Jeopardy!
4:30p
Jeopardy!
2:00p
Maury
3:00p
The Robert Irvine Show
4:00p
The Goldbergs

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
The 3rd Annual Howie Mandel Stand-Up Gala
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld