When a woman recently drove five hours to see her son as he prepared to leave for basic training, she was shocked when she found out a local hotel would not let her stay there because she has a service dog.
Dianne Wertz lives in Tennessee, but made the trek to Raleigh Monday night. When she arrived at City Studios Hotel, the woman behind the counter told her she couldn’t stay there because they didn’t allow animals. Wertz gave the woman the proper credentials for her service dog, Gabby, but still, the woman said no.
Wertz, a veteran who suffers from PTSD, doesn’t think she should be treated like a “second-class citizen” simply because she has a service dog. And, in fact, legally she can’t.
“The American Disability Act says that if somebody has a service animal, public accommodations like hotels, have to accommodate their needs as a person with a disability,” explained Holly Stiles, a lawyer with Disability Rights North Carolina.
Nonetheless, Stiles said she gets quite a few calls from people who find themselves in this same predicament, because many people don’t understand the laws concerning service animals.
Wertz did not say whether she would contact a lawyer when she returned home, and the hotel’s manager had no comment on the matter.