Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Becky Andrews and her service dog Cricket weren't allowed in the Ann Taylor store at City Creek. She has retinitis pigmantosa, a degenerative eye disease and she relies on Cricket as her set of eyes and goes with her everywhere.
Ann Taylor apologizes for kicking guide dog out of store
Disabilities » Owner’s anger still burns after she was booted from retailer in Salt Lake.
First Published Jun 20 2012 04:05 pm • Last Updated Jun 20 2012 09:02 pm

Becky Andrews is torn. Should the partially blind woman file a discrimination complaint for being told she couldn’t bring her guide dog into the Ann Taylor clothing store at City Creek Center? Or should she just forget the episode and move on?

One thing is certain. Andrews, who has lived with the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa for most of her 47 years, is mad at the upscale store, several employees and the Ohio-based company that issued a public statement disputing her claim that her dog, Cricket, was wearing a service animal harness when they entered the store last Friday.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"They misrepresented me. I’m a responsible guide dog user. I don’t necessarily appreciate it when they send out this statement saying [Cricket] was not in harness," the Bountiful counselor said Wednesday.

An Ann Taylor spokeswoman on Wednesday issued a mea culpa, acknowledging that store employees had made a mistake.

"In our previous statement we had said that her guide dog was unharnessed. This was not the case. We were misinformed and we are sorry that this incorrect information was released," Catherine Fisher said in an email.

Fisher said service animals are always welcome in the company’s stores.

Andrews said she was gripping Cricket’s harness as she walked into the store last Friday. A clerk immediately confronted her. The clerk said Andrews couldn’t be in the store with her dog.

"She told me I needed to leave. It kind of took me by surprise because I was expecting a nice greeting," Andrews said.

Retinitis pigmentosa causes progressive damage to the retina. Complete blindness isn’t common, but loss of peripheral vision is. Andrews’ eyesight has narrowed to a small dime-sized circle, which is why she dismisses the company’s claim that Cricket wasn’t harnessed.

"I can’t get around without her," Andrews said.


story continues below
story continues below

The event quickly became chaotic, she said. Other employees and a manager joined in, and Andrews said voices came at her from several directions. She said she attempted to explain that Cricket was a service animal that under the Americans for Disabilities Act could be in the store with her. The employees, though, weren’t buying it.

Shocked, Andrews was near tears.

"I tried to educate them and explain the situation, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. And so I left. I was maybe in the store five minutes," said Andrews , who on Wednesday was still contemplating her next step.

The store manager later called her to apologize, Andrews said.

Fisher said the company will contact Andrews "to make this situation right."

pbeebe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribpaul



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.