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Service dog turned away at Bibb tag office | News

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Service dog turned away at Bibb tag office

Karen and Bill Malcott say they were not allowed into the tax commissioner's tag office with their service dog, a chocolate lab named Mocha.

Macon Bibb Tax Commissioner Thomas Tedders confirmed a security guard denied the Malcotts entry Monday morning because the guard didn't know dogs could be used to detect high and low blood sugar.

He has now resigned.

"They did speak with him. They did explain that it was a service dog for diabetes alertness. He, unfortunately, had never heard of such a thing and so, therefore, he was questioning it," Tedders said.

Tedders says his office has had no issues of this kind or with the guard in the past.

The Americans with Disabilities Act says that an assistance dog is "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."

"I did speak with him, told him that the dog needed to be allowed in that there was no reason to deny the dog access. That the dog was a true in fact service dog," Tedders said about his conversation with the security guard.

The American Disability Act also states "anyone who knowingly and intentionally harasses or attempts to harass an assistance dog, shall by guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall by punished by imprisonment for not less than 90 days or a fine not to exceed $500."

The Malcotts say they aren't taking legal action.

"You know this was just an unfortunate incident that never should have occurred, but this was due to somebody's not fully understanding what the law said or not realizing that these service dogs are for other things besides the visually impaired," Tedders said.

The Malcotts say they recently purchased the chocolate lab for their daughter who has Type 1 diabetes and haven't had problems anywhere else.


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