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[IPp] Man says Popeyes kicked him out over service dog



http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/man-says-popeyes-kicked-1440659.html

Man says Popeyes kicked him out over service dogBy Alexis
Stevens<email @ redacted>

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For nearly two years, a four-legged friend has followed 20-year-old Taylor
Gipson of north Fulton County everywhere he goes. Whether he's in classes
at Kennesaw State University or at a restaurant with his family, Gipson's
British lab, Bear, is also there.
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photo<http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/man-says-popeyes-kicked-1440659.html?bigNa
me=Channel+2+Action+News&bigPhotog=Channel+2+Action+News&bigCap=Bear+can+aler
t+Taylor+Gipson+when+his+blood+sugar+is+dropping+or+rising.&bigDeclCap=&bigCr
ed=Channel+2+Action+News&bigUrl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.ajc.com%2fmultimedia%2fdynam
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[image: Bear can alert Taylor Gipson when his blood sugar is dropping or
rising.]<http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/man-says-popeyes-kicked-1440659.html?bi
gName=Channel+2+Action+News&bigPhotog=Channel+2+Action+News&bigCap=Bear+can+a
lert+Taylor+Gipson+when+his+blood+sugar+is+dropping+or+rising.&bigDeclCap=&bi
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namic%2f01384%2fservicedog-A_1384434c.jpg&superSizeImage=y>
Channel 2 Action News, Channel 2 Action NewsBear can alert Taylor Gipson
when his blood sugar is dropping or rising.
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photo<http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/man-says-popeyes-kicked-1440659.html?bigNa
me=Channel+2+Action+News&bigPhotog=Channel+2+Action+News&bigCap=Taylor+Gipson
%2c+20%2c+takes+his+service+dog+everywhere+because+of+his+Type+1+diabetes.&bi
gDeclCap=&bigCred=Channel+2+Action+News&bigUrl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.ajc.com%2fmul
timedia%2fdynamic%2f01384%2fservice-dogD_1384383c.jpg&superSizeImage=y>
[image: Taylor Gipson, 20, takes his service dog everywhere because of his
Type 1
diabetes.]<http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/man-says-popeyes-kicked-1440659.html?
bigName=Channel+2+Action+News&bigPhotog=Channel+2+Action+News&bigCap=Taylor+G
ipson%2c+20%2c+takes+his+service+dog+everywhere+because+of+his+Type+1+diabete
s.&bigDeclCap=&bigCred=Channel+2+Action+News&bigUrl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.ajc.com%
2fmultimedia%2fdynamic%2f01384%2fservice-dogD_1384383c.jpg&superSizeImage=y>
Channel 2 Action News, Channel 2 Action NewsTaylor Gipson, 20, takes his
service dog everywhere because of his Type 1 diabetes.

Because of his Type 1 diabetes, Gipson's blood sugar levels can rise or
drop quickly, and as a teenager, he had seizures during the night. His
service dog is trained to alert him when his blood sugar is dropping or
rising, Gipson says. And Bear sometimes is an even better indicator than
his owner's blood sugar meter.

But during a recent visit to a Cobb County <http://g.ajc.com/r/Ch/> fast
food restaurant, a manager told Gipson he'd have to leave if Bear stayed.
The restaurant claims Gipson had a confrontation with customers, which he
says never happened. Now, he has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department
of Justice over his civil rights, he said.

"She probably just thought, This kid isn't blind or in a wheelchair, so
why does he need a dog?' " Gipson told the AJC.

Because Bear is a trained service dog, he is allowed to accompany Gipson
just about everywhere he goes, according to the Americans with Disabilities
Act <http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor64645>. Gipson didn't think twice
about taking Bear into a Popeyes restaurant on Windy Hill Road last
Saturday.

"I was having a low blood sugar, so I ordered my food and was drinking
sweet tea," Gipson said.

That's when the restaurant manager told him he'd had to leave and called
police.

"You can't have a dog in the store," Gipson said the manager told him. He
tried to explain that Bear is a service dog, but it didn't help, he said.

A Cobb County <http://g.ajc.com/r/Ch/> police officer also arrived at the
restaurant and told Gipson the restaurant was private property, so Bear
would have to leave, Gipson said. Gipson said he tried to show the officer
identification for Bear.

"He wouldn't even look at it," Gipson said. "He said he knew the law."

According to the ADA regulations, posted on the U.S. Department of Justice
website, "Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service
animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit
animals on the premises."

A spokesman for Cobb County <http://g.ajc.com/r/Ch/> police told the AJC
late Friday that the incident is under review.

In a statement to the AJC Saturday, the restaurant gave a different account
of the incidents.

"Through our investigation, we have learned that we serve that particular
guest with the service dog regularly at this location without incident,"
the statement reads. "It appears that on his most recent visit, a family
came in with small children who were frightened by the dog as the guest and
the dog were seated directly by the entrance. The parents were concerned
for their children and apparently confronted the guest. The two parties
engaged in a heated conversation, which quickly escalated, requiring the
manager on duty to contact the police to intervene."

Gipson told the AJC Saturday he had never before been to the Windy Hill
restaurant, and was only in the area that particular day. Furthermore, he
says he never spoke to any customers about Bear while in the restaurant.

Gipson said he is considering a lawsuit against the restaurant for not
allowing him to bring his service dog. But beyond that, he wants others to
know that Bear isn't just a pet and serves a very important role.

"You have to deal with a lot of people and a lot of questions," Gipson
said. "I don't know any other college student that wants to just take a dog
into a restaurant. If I didn't need this dog, why would I go to this
trouble?"
Rachel - email @ redacted
https://www.facebook.com/AllBrightPhotography
.
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