A Maple Ridge woman is speaking out after taking her little brother to a trampoline park in North Langley and being refused access because of his service dog.
Danica Dutt said she took her 11-year-old brother, who has autism, to the Langley location of the Extreme Air Park on Wednesday evening.
“Before my brother could begin to even jump, one of the staff told us the service dog was denied access because she was not needed,” Dutt posted on Facebook.
“I explained to her the dog has public access and showed her the paperwork, but she said there was nothing she could do. The owner of the company said the dog was not allowed to be there, and only service dogs who have a ‘purpose’ (i.e a seeing eye dog) would be permitted to enter.
“I had to stand and wait for 30 minutes with my 11-year-old autistic brother while the lady working discussed this on the phone with management.”
Dutt said she asked to speak to a manager and was told staff were not allowed to give out the phone number.
“The best part was, I got to tell my 11-year-old brother he wasn’t allowed to jump and his eyes filled with tears. He does not understand,” she wrote.
Dutt said she is angry because the business would not provide a refund, only a credit.
“Our intentions [in sharing this] are to raise awareness on the rights of service dogs who assist those with autism. Not all disabilities are visible, but all are valid,” she wrote in a Google review.
People were quick to respond on social media, some adding comments to the business’ Google reviews. By Thursday morning, her posting had more than 1,000 comments.
The online reviews included a few comments labelled “response from the owner.”
“We do not allow leg braces or wheelchairs or dogs on the trampolines,” those comments said. “All persons are welcome and all care providers go for free. This individual wanted the dog to jump, as well. It is helpful when the public knows the whole story before jumping to conclusions. Thank you.”
Dutt denied they wanted to take the dog onto the trampolines and that the plan was to have her sit with the dog in the waiting area.
The company responded to Black Press Media email with an unsigned statement:
“Kai visited our facility yesterday and did in fact jump and enjoyed all the attractions in our park. His sister was offered a free admittance as is our policy with care providers, to assist Kai if needed.
“The incident arose from a dialogue about the dog going onto the trampoline area. Service dogs are welcome, and we do our best to address and accommodate all our customers needs including those requiring special care. We reached out to Kai and Danica on DM through social media, but haven’t heard back from them.”
Extreme Air Park has facilities in North Langley, Richmond, New Westminster and Calgary.