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A terrible car accident left Houston, Texas resident, Jessamy Frizzell with a painful condition that causes her joints to dislocate multiple times a day. It is thanks to her service dog, a Great Pyrenees named Josephina, that she is able to live a fairly normal life.
While running errands are often difficult and painful for Frizzell, she told KHOU that a recent trip to a local Kroger grocery store was the most difficult and painful experience of all.
As Jessamy and her mother walked through the store picking up groceries too feed the family, they were confronted by the store’s manager and asked to remove Josephina from the store.
The store manager had apparently noticed callouses on Josephina’s elbows, a condition fairly common in giant breed dogs, and mistook them for open sores.
“She was treated as if she wasn’t human or as if she was the scum of the Earth. And that’s a real big blow,” said Suzanne Frizzell, Jessamy’s mother.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are permitted anywhere the public is allowed, including grocery stores and restaurants where perishable foods are displayed and sold.
Kroger released the following statement, “An employee was concerned with the well-being of the service dog and voiced those concerns to the pet’s owner, since the dog looked wounded. Given the dog’s condition, the employee was cautious about its presence in an environment where food is prepared and served. This is an atypical incident and we pride ourselves in following ADA guidelines for service animals.”
Meanwhile, Jessamy feels humiliated by the way she was treated and hopes that sharing her story will help others to understand that service dogs are often a necessity to their handlers’ ability to lead a normal life.