Woman says Hartford doctor kicked her out because of service dog

Woman Says Doctor Turned Her Away Because of Service Dog
Woman Says Doctor Turned Her Away Because of Service Dog

HARTFORD– Danyelle Carter is a 24-year-old East Hartford resident who has lived with Fibromyalgia since childhood.

"Lots of pain, everything hurts," said Danyelle. It hurts just to stand up sometimes, and she often falls.

That's why she got Ziva. Ziva is a service animal given to Danyelle from a non-profit organization in Colorado in December 2014. Ziva is specially trained to help Danyelle with tasks like fetching her inhaler, cell phone or her water from inside the refrigerator.

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Danyelle said Ziva helps her live a more normal life and conserve energy.

Ziva is clearly marked as a service dog, with her bright red vest, ID card and leash that reads "service dog." Danyelle has taken Ziva to restaurants, shops and even medical appointments without a problem.

That ended on Wednesday afternoon after, according to Danyelle, Dr. Michael Krall kicked her out of his Hartford office when she showed up for her allergy appointment with Ziva.

"He said he 'didn't care what the law was, he's the boss' and to 'get out of his office,' and he was just yelling at me," said Danyelle.

Danyelle said she called the office two months earlier to confirm it would be okay to bring Ziva and was given the go-ahead by whoever answered the phone.

But when she showed up for her February appointment, Dr. Krall kept shouting that he was allergic and said he dog had to leave, according to Danyelle.

Dr. Krall denied multiple requests from Fox CT for an interview. However, he did discuss the situation by phone for about 20 minutes on Friday, before eventually deciding to not make any "on the record" comments.

But Nancy Alisberg, the managing attorney for the state's Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, did talk to Fox CT.

"It is possible that the doctor could have to pay damages to the individual," said Alisberg.

She said Title 3 of the "Americans with Disabilities Act" protects people like Danyelle in these situations because the law obligates doctors to work with the patient. They don't have to accommodate the service animal, says Alisberg, but they at least have to try.

"If the doctor did not engage in this interactive process, and didn't consider reasonable accommodations and didn't talk to the patient about - well let's figure out a way to accommodate your needs and the needs of my other patients - then yes, that's a violation of federal law and they might be found liable," said Alisberg.

When asked if a doctor can just say "get out" without discussing it further with the patient, Alisberg said "no absolutely not."

Danyelle filed an ADA complaint with the Department of Justice, but said she spoke out publicly not just for herself, but for everyone out there with helpers like Ziva.

"I would like something done so that he realizes what he did was wrong. I don't want to see anyone ever being barred from anywhere. I don't want to see anyone denied medical treatment just because of a service dog," said Danyelle.

Again, Dr. Krall was offered multiple opportunities over two days to share his side of the story, but repeatedly said he had no "on the record" comments to share.

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