[blindkid] Fwd: Article
carol.joyce.castellano at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 12:15:43 UTC 2011
This is a good one!
Director of Programs
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
carol_castellano at verizon.net
>Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 13:12:58 -0400
>Doctor bars guide dog from waiting room
>PhillyBurbs.com, August 11, 2011By: Christian
>Menno, Staff Writer Calkins Media, Inc.
>A guide dog for a visually impaired Bensalem man
>was kicked out of a local doctors office, but
>the doctor said she had the right to do so.
>But, according to a lawyer and advocate for the
>disabled, the Lower Southampton doctors actions
>violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
>You cannot exclude service animals except in
>very specific situations, said Rocco Iaculla,
>an attorney with the Disability Rights Network
>of Pennsylvania. Unless the animal is out of
>control or not housebroken or someone nearby has
>a severe allergic reaction, you must permit them
>in any area that the public is permitted. It has
>to be more than someone feeling uncomfortable with an animal present.
>Dr. Priya Punjabi argues that it is her right to
>determine who enters the property and that a
>large animal could scare or upset her patients.
>On Aug. 4, Joseph Cichonski accompanied his
>wife, who was scheduled to receive a physical,
>to Punjabis office at 1629 Bridgetown Pike.
>As he does whenever he leaves his home,
>Cichonski, 58, brought his guide dog Hero, a Labrador-golden retriever mix.
>Cichonski said Hero was lying calmly at his feet
>in the waiting room and Cichonskis wife was
>waiting to be treated in the examination room
>when the doctor approached him, saying that pets
>werent allowed in the office and telling him that he had to wait outside.
>I told her that its not a pet, its a guide
>dog, but she still said I couldnt have him in
>there, Cichonski told the newspaper. How many
>pets do you know that can be declared on your federal income tax forms?
>Cichonski, who said he sees only a little light
>and shadows, said he then stepped outside the
>office because he didnt want to cause a scene,
>but not before informing the staff that he was
>calling the police to file a complaint.
>I could have just sat in that chair until the police arrived, he added.
>He said his wife was told she wouldnt be
>treated while the dog was in the office. So she left, too.
>Cpl. Michael Wojnar of the Lower Southampton
>Police Department arrived and went inside to
>speak with Punjabi, Cichonski said. He said the
>officer was friendly and helpful and told him that a report would be filed.
>On Wednesday, Wojnar said that a complaint had
>indeed been filed. He added that if the
>newspaper wants to see the report, a
>right-to-know request must be completed because
>the matter is civil, not criminal.
>Punjabi told the newspaper that the dog had
>occupied a large portion of the floor space in
>the small waiting room. The room holds just
>seven chairs for patients, she said.
>While no other patients were there at the time,
>she said that two walked into the waiting room
>just as the situation with Cichonski was unfolding.
>Punjabi said that a Bensalem woman who arrived
>later that morning to accompany her 90-year-old
>mother for an appointment heard the story and
>agreed with the doctors decision. Punjabi said
>she asked that woman to put her feelings in
>writing and provided the newspaper with a copy of the letter Tuesday.
>The woman, who asked that her name not be
>published, said that while she loves dogs and
>respects all disabled people, she would not have
>felt comfortable having the dog in the room with her mother.
>My mother has liquid bones and is very frail,
>she added. I would have been afraid the dog
>might have bumped into her, causing even more injuries.
>Punjabi, who said she is afraid of dogs, added that her request was polite.
>We simply asked him to step outside, she said.
>I have my rights and my phobias, too.
>Iaculla said that Cichonski handled things correctly by staying calm.
>Unfortunately, theres not much you can do in a
>situation like that, he added. Id recommend
>contacting an organization (like the Disability
>Rights Network). Hopefully, the agency can
>contact the doctors office and try to get a
>dialogue going to explain the laws and how to
>handle a similar matter in the future.
>Cichonski said Wednesday that hes exploring his options.
>Im not trying to cause a fuss, he added. I
>just want to let people know that things like
>this are happening and Id like to prevent them
>from happening to other people with disabilities.
>Pamela L. Gaston
>NJ State Department of Human Services
>Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
>153 Halsey St. 6th. Flr.
>P.O. Box 47017
>Newark, NJ 07101
>Office: (973) 648-6149
>Cell: (973) 900-2564
>Fax: (973) 648-2043
>"Life is a succession of lessons which must be
>lived to be understood." - Helen Keller
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