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United States finds local hotel in violation of ADA

Posted: April 23, 2014 - 2:08pm

A United States Department of Justice investigation found Comfort Inn and Suites in Conway, owned by Umang Patel, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a DOJ settlement agreement filed in March.

According to the agreement between the United States and Conway Lodging, or Comfort Suites, the investigation carried out by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office for the DOJ found the business violated the Americans with Disabilities Act “by failing to modify its policies, practices, or procedures to allow the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability without making inquiries pertaining to documentation, including proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.”

The complainant alleged that on Sept. 27, 2012 the business discriminated against people with disabilities and denied equal access to people with disabilities who use service animals.

Further, the complainant told the DOJ an employee requested documentation of the service animal, and the complainant was told he could not stay in the hotel without documentation for the service animal.

The agreement states the man produced documentation of the service animal so that he could stay at the hotel.

Under the agreement, the business and its operator shall be afforded accommodations “equal to that afforded to other individuals.”

Further, the business agreed to modify policies and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by individuals with disabilities without requiring verification of the person’s need for the service animal.

The business and Patel were required to provide training for employees on the business’ service animal policy within 90 days of the agreement’s effective date, Jan. 17, 2014.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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SleepysRose
981
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SleepysRose 04/23/14 - 09:43 pm
2
1
Sad to hear this...

It's very disappointing to hear that the town I live in does this to others like me with Service Dogs when by Federal Law the only two things that can be asked of a person with a Service Dog is 1)Is that a service dog? 2)What is that service dog trained to do? That's it. That is all by federal law a person can ask of a service dog owner. Too bad Mayor Townsell doesn't try to educate local business owners on things like this by sending out the information to them to help make Conway a Service Dog Friendly city so that those traveling through here don't get put through that anymore.

conwaygerl
5833
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conwaygerl 04/23/14 - 10:40 pm
4
0
Not to mention

Any service dog I've ever seen was pretty blatantly obvious that it was a service dog

Raving Bear
632
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Raving Bear 04/23/14 - 11:58 pm
3
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Sure seeing eye dogs and

Sure seeing eye dogs and autism dogs are pretty obvious. But what about seizure detection dogs, PTSD dogs and others that deal with ailments that might not be so obvious to the casual observer. The range of qualified "services" a dog may perform is huge. The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF) has a truly awesome commercial (about a vet and his PTSD dog) I suggest watching. Although Dutch, it speaks to the heart of the matter.

SleepysRose
981
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SleepysRose 04/24/14 - 11:42 am
1
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There are ways to specify what type

Raving Bear there are patches a service dog owner can purchase that say "Seizure Alert, Seizure Response, Medical Alert, Diabetes Alert, Mobility, PTSD and Psychiatric Service Dog" that any responsible service dog owner would have on their dog's vest. I always have my dog's vest on when I take them out with me. The only reason the patches just say "Service Dog" on my dog's vest is because my dog does more than one task and is a Medical Alert and Psychiatric Service Dog put together. Was kind of hard to fit all of the patches on the vest. Those vests only have so much room on them.

ucantbserious
30354
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ucantbserious 04/24/14 - 10:05 am
4
0
Hmm

"help make Conway a Service Dog Friendly city"

Does that mean we need to add 'service dog lanes' on all the roads?

SleepysRose
981
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SleepysRose 04/24/14 - 11:36 am
2
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LOL @ Your comment

uncantbeserious that was kind of funny. No service dog lanes aren't needed. :-) We just need to educate business owners more about them and what they can and can not do is all.

ucantbserious
30354
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ucantbserious 04/24/14 - 11:46 am
3
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Hmm

I understand where you are coming from on this but is it really the responsibility of a municipal government to train the employees of a business on federal laws and how to follow them? It seems like that should be the responsibility of the business owner.

SleepysRose
981
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SleepysRose 04/24/14 - 06:06 pm
0
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That's not what I meant..

ucantbeserious that's not what I was implying. In no way was the city going to be training anyone. All the city would do is pass out an ADA Business Brief the city could send out to all the local businesses and then it would be up to the owner like you said. The only thing the city would do is "educate" local business owners by sending out the ADA Business Brief or the link to it which can be found on the ADA website run by the Dept. of Justice. I have copies of these and am more than willing to share them with the Mayor's office but unfortunately the mayor never responded to my offer and suggestion or even at the least pointed me in the right direction.

klaatu
2
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klaatu 04/24/14 - 08:18 am
0
5
Business Leader of Year???

Wasn't Patel recently named Young Business Leader of the Year by the Conway Chamber of Commerce? They may need to rethink that award! Can they make him give it back?

ucantbserious
30354
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ucantbserious 04/24/14 - 10:03 am
6
0
Hmm

So you're first and only post on here is a bashing a local business owner?

 Axe Grind 2 axe_to_grind.gif

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