Susan Grill stands out when she walks her pack of service dogs ‚ÄĒ white poodles with brightly colored tassels ‚ÄĒ around Walt Disney World.
Grill, who has epilepsy and migraines, is accusing the company of harassing her when she brings the animals to the park‚Äôs property. She sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for discrimination and retaliation in Orlando federal court this week. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages, attorney‚Äôs fees and an order protecting Grill on her trips to Disney.
Disney allows service animals ‚ÄĒ a dog or a miniature horse trained to help its owner with a disability, according to Disney‚Äôs definition ‚ÄĒ at most places within its Orlando theme parks and hotels, according to its website.
‚ÄúThis person‚Äôs complaints were already reviewed by the Florida Commission on Human Rights, which found that no unlawful practice occurred,‚ÄĚ a Disney spokeswoman said in a statement.
According to the lawsuit, in February 2017, Grill took a stroll around Disney Springs with three dogs. Grill often trains her dogs at Disney to adjust them to crowds.
‚ÄúAll three were well-behaved and were wearing clearly labeled gear identifying them as ‚Äėservice dogs,‚Äô‚ÄĚ the lawsuit said.
Two Disney security guards stopped her and told her she could not train her dogs on Disney property, the suit said.
An Orange County deputy sheriff who also approached her demanded to see the dogs‚Äô certification papers and said the poodles were ‚Äúfake,‚ÄĚ the suit says.
Disney security told Grill she couldn‚Äôt leave until their case was closed ‚ÄĒ which made her feel intimidated, she said in the lawsuit.
A Disney Springs manager allowed Grill to stay but warned she was forbidden from returning with the dogs.
Grill tried to argue, and the manager told her to leave immediately, the lawsuit said.
Grill‚Äôs attorney, Daniel Saxe, said it was ‚Äútroubling and puzzling‚ÄĚ as to why she faced a backlash.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs simply no reason for this,‚ÄĚ Saxe said.
She filed a complaint in May 2017 with the Florida Commission on Human Rights, and she believes Disney is retaliating against her for filing it, the lawsuit said.
Grill keeps training her service dogs at Walt Disney Word but said she has dealt with other problems dealing with Disney security.
The lawsuit alleged Disney‚Äôs head of security told Grill ‚Äú…If she did not want people to grab her service dog and scream curse words at her, then she should not bring her service dog to the Disney Parks,‚ÄĚ the lawsuit said.
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