Disney seems to like dogs since at least two of it's canine mascots, Goofy and Pluto, are almost as popular as Mickey Mouse. However, at the Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, the security guards refused to allow Susan Grill to train her service dogs –a pack of poodles– in the park.
Grill, who suffers from epilepsy and migraines, and requires the pups for relief, sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on grounds of discrimination and retaliation. Filed in a federal court earlier this week, the lawsuit stems from an incident that took place at the park in February of 2017 when security approached her.
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According to the lawsuit, the dogs were reportedly well-behaved and wore service dog apparel, but that didn't stop two guards from telling Grill's she wasn't allowed to train her dogs in the park. Grill acknowledged that she often trains her animals at the park so they are comfortable in crowd situations. Things got tense when an Orange County deputy sheriff asked for certification forms regarding the dogs, then declared the pets were "fake."
Grill stated she was further intimidated when the guards refused to let her go until the situation was resolved. An exchange with a park manager, who said Grill could remain on the grounds but the dogs had to go, resulted in the woman getting kicked out of the park.
Following the incident, Grill has had frequent issues with security and she eventually took her case to the Florida Commission on Human Rights in May 2017. Although a Disney spokesperson said that the commission "found that no unlawful practice occurred," Grill believes that her issues with security are a retaliatory move by Disney for filing her complaint.
According to the Disney website, the company welcomes disabled guests with service animals, such as dogs and miniature ponies at most locations in the chain's resorts and theme parks. Despite the arguments and filings, Grill still trains her dogs at the theme park.