QUINCY, Mich. (WHDH) – A Michigan woman is upset after she says she missed her son’s wedding because the church denied her service dog.
Church officials have fired back, saying they gave her options on her son’s special day.
Mary Douglas goes everywhere with her service dog Stella, but Douglas says Stella wasn’t allowed to step into a Michigan church for her son’s wedding. She said it ultimately caused her to miss her son’s big day.
“I’ve cried a lot. It was a very sleepless night last night,” said Douglas.
Douglas is living with PTSD, and she has had her service dog for almost two years. She said missing the wedding sparked emotions she’ll need Stella to calm.
“I’ve sacrificed as any single mom, any mom really, does for their children. For that not to be reciprocated, that, honor not to be due to a mom on her son’s wedding day, it’s heartbreaking,” she said.
Pastor Robert Montgomery said Douglas still could have been there for her son.
“There were several options given to try and accommodate and make this thing work but they were all refused so it kind of put us in a difficult spot obviously,” said Pastor Montgomery.
Pastor Montgomery says the church has had a no animal policy for months, including service dogs.
“The difficulty we find in letting animals in—so people know—if you have people that have a fear of animals or an allergy to animals it makes it very difficult,” he said.
“Under the ADA regulations if the church opens their buildings to a public event it’s now public and they have to follow the ADA’s,” said Douglas.
Douglas said she filed a civil rights complaint, hoping to create awareness about service animals and help prevent discrimination.
“When there’s a disability that you can’t physically see with your eyes doesn’t mean that the disability is any less,” said Douglas.
Pastor Montgomery said the day should have been about the couple, and that it was “unfortunate that it turned out this way.”
The complaint has now made its way to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
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