Blind woman says cab owner refused service over guide dog

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HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - A Henry County woman is claiming discrimination, saying she was refused taxi service because of her guide dog.

Christina Butler got her service dog, Bailey, last year following four weeks of rigorous training with the dog in Columbus, Ohio, away from her family. She said Bailey had to pass a very hard test to become a guide dog.

That's why she never expected what she says the owner of the Checker Cab Company in McDonough told her Tuesday when she called for a ride to a doctor's appointment.

"I let him know that I had a service animal, and he said I couldn't bring my service animal because dogs aren't allowed. I just couldn't believe that he would deny her. I was shocked," Butler told Channel 2's Eric Philips.

The cab company owner who runs the business out of his home did not want to go on camera. He told Philips by phone he only has one cab, and it was in the shop at the time Butler called. He said he was using his wife's BMW and that her boxer would not fit inside. But Butler said he didn't explain any of that at the time.

"Making me feel like I'm not wanted; my animal's not wanted. He was supposed to accommodate it and he refused," she said.

The company owner said it was just a misunderstanding. Butler, however, said she understood clearly.

"I think it's discriminating. I think it's wrong," Butler said.

"I don't want (anyone) else to be turned down, because it's very important for us to get to the doctor and for us to do things without other people," she said.

By law, service animals are supposed to be allowed just about anywhere humans can go.

The cab company owner insists he would have accommodated Butler if he could have.