An arrest warrant has been issued for the manager of a Marietta McDonald's after she punched a mother of two autistic boys in the face, Marietta police said.
It happened at the McDonald's on Bells Ferry Road, police said.
The manager, Tiffany Denise Allen, told the woman that the twin boys’ service dog, Barkley, wasn't allowed inside, police said. Allen was off duty.
The law, however, states that the dog is allowed inside.
The boys’ mother, Jennifer Schwenker, said the incident took place on July 12 when she took the boys to the McDonald's to have lunch.
Channel 2’s Diana Davis got her hands on a surveillance tape showing one of the twins and Barkley enjoying the restaurant’s play area.
The family was about to leave when Allen told them there were no dogs allowed, police said.
Schwenker explained that Barkley is a service dog, allowed by federal law in all public places including restaurants. Schwenker offered to provide proof of the permit for the dog, Marietta police said.
It wasn’t enough for Allen, they said. The tape shows her following the family around the McDonald's, even down the hall to the restroom.
When Schwenker tried to leave, she lost track of one of the boys. In a panic, she threw her drink on the floor and it splashed on Allen, police said.
The tape shows Allen running after Schwenker in a rage, police said. Marietta police Detective Gwen Lewis told Davis that she has never seen anything like it.
1. Q: What are the laws that apply to my business?
A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.
2. Q: What is a service animal?
A: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:
_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.
_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.
_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.
A service animal is not a pet.
3. Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?
A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.
4. Q: What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my business?
A: The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers.
5. Q: I have always had a clearly posted "no pets" policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?
A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean you must abandon your "no pets" policy altogether but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.
6. Q: My county health department has told me that only a guide dog has to be admitted. If I follow those regulations, am I violating the ADA?
A: Yes, if you refuse to admit any other type of service animal on the basis of local health department regulations or other state or local laws. The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations.