Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Michael Rielly

Mall Santa Sends Away Girl With Service Dog

Recommended Posts

Michael Rielly

Mall Santa Sends Away Girl With Service Dog

CBS Boston
November 24, 2017

EXCERPT:

dog1.jpg?w=420&h=236

A holiday festivity was ruined for one New Hampshire family after a mall Santa denied a special needs girl because of her service dog.

Jill Twigg took to Facebook to say that her daughter Olivia’s visit with Santa at the Nashua Pheasant Lane Mall did not go as planned on Friday.

“It was horrible. I just wanted to go home from the mall. It was awful, ” said Jill.

Olivia said she and her family waited in line and then approached Santa. He told her that she couldn’ come any closer because he was allergic to her service dog, Romeo.

“When he said Romeo can’t go in it made me sad,” said Olivia.

Jill and her young kids found themselves at the center of a scene.

“The woman taking the pictures told me I needed to remove the dog off the red carpet. I said no I’m not going to move him. He has to be able to see her. She said that was not acceptable.”

Romeo is not a pet, he is a highly-trained service dog for Olivia, who lives with the neurological disorder Rett Syndrome and suffers from seizures.

“He goes to school with her. When she has a seizure he comes and alerts me or he’ll lay across her,” said Jill.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, “allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.”

Jill said Romeo wouldn’t have touched Santa – his focus is Olivia.

Instead, the family was told to return for ‘pet day,’ or the special needs event.

“I don’t want to take her to Caring Santa. I want her to have a normal experience. She’s on a normal cheerleading team with normal children. We want to make sure she feels completely comfortable going wherever she wants at whatever time she wants.”

Cherry Hill Programs, the Santa experience provider for Pheasant Lane Mall, said they have a clear protocol that welcomes all service dogs and they hope to make a special appearance at the Twiggs’ home.

SOURCE: boston.cbslocal.com/2017/11/24/mall-santa-sends-away-girl-service-dog/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eileen Strom

Didn't this happen last year? It sounds very familiar... Not that it should have happened in the 1st place.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SantaBuck

I don't know how to feel about this. Not just in this situation but in everyday life. One person has a legitimate medical condition that says they need to have their dog with them the other person has a legitimate medical condition that says they don't need to be around dogs. When does one persons rights over rule the others? Should Santa just "get over it" and deal with it? What if it's a sever allergic reaction just from being close to the dog something that effects his breathing. Like some people have around cats. That could end his day and what about all the other children in line? Just wondering.   I'm not insensitive to people with disabilities.  I'm a disabled veteran myself but where do my rights end and others begin?

Edited by SantaBuck
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SantaBuck

In day to day life it's not a problem. If you're allergic to a dog you just keep your distance from them, they'll never know and there's no problem. When the person with the dog wants to sit in your lap and the dog is only feet away that's a whole different ball game. I can see both perspectives. No one wants their rights violated.

Edited by SantaBuck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Felix Estridge

I see both sides.  Allergies can be crippling.  The dog does not have to be near Santa as transfer from the child can happen.  It is a difficult situation.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KrisKringleJxn

I put a lot of time into making my own suit, and politely request that venues I work not allow animals.  That being said, in the case of a service animal, there are lint rollers and dry cleaners for a reason...  ;-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Leonard

We have operated our own Santa photo experience for eight seasons.  We have allowed families with dogs to have photos taken, but I will not handle the animal.  We have had no issues from anyone, so far.  We do ask that a member of the party wait in the line, then when it is their turn to see Santa, they bring the dog into the workshop from outside the tent where the guest line waits.  This keeps the dog calm, and doesn't frighten the children that may be afraid of dogs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SCSanta

This is an issue I have been worried about...not just with Santa's but on airplanes and other enclosed public spaces where air is recycled and allergy flares are a risk. Both have medical conditions, but the Mother's contention that the dog would not need to touch Santa displays tunnel vision on her part. Pet dander can be transferred from the dog to the child to Santa, triggering an allergic reaction.

That being said, someone on the Cherry Hill/Santa side of the equation is likely guilty of either mis-communication or providing false/incomplete information on a services contract. If Cherry Hill has a clear protocol permitting all service animals, then there needs to be some release from any of their representatives that they understand the policy and can abide by it. Either this was not properly communicated, or the Santa did not provide the allergy restriction in advance.

With the increased frequency of coming across service animals in public, a discussion needs to happen on a wider scope than currently exists. Maybe in this scenario, it is better to have animal free days so folks with allergies can also participate in the Santa experience without risking their health.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Roberts

Working as Santa in a public venue you must be prepared to deal with all sorts of things. If I had a severe allergy to anything, dogs, perfumes or whatever, I would not take a gig like this. I would only do private venues where I could control who was coming in. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Marty

I had a similar situation just yesterday but with the exception that it did not involve a special needs individual and the "Pocket Puppy" was not a service animal.  In cases such as this and I am not booked for a Pet Night, the individual would hold and control their pet/service animal.  

Yesterday, a woman who returned for a photo because "the smile wasn't right" thrust her little pocket puppy into my hands..... I didn't care for it, but I did not make a scene over it.  There were two motivating factors in my acceptance of this little dog for the photo.  1.  I was in the last few minutes of my appearance and therefore had a low likelihood of allergic reactions those few families left in line.  2.  It just wouldn't be worth the effort to object.

It is my feeling that this will become more of a problem as people assume an "entitlement" position.  This coupled with the fact that the line between a "Service Animal" and a "Comfort Animal" become further blurred.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Felix Estridge
59 minutes ago, Santa Marty said:

I had a similar situation just yesterday but with the exception that it did not involve a special needs individual and the "Pocket Puppy" was not a service animal.  In cases such as this and I am not booked for a Pet Night, the individual would hold and control their pet/service animal.  

Yesterday, a woman who returned for a photo because "the smile wasn't right" thrust her little pocket puppy into my hands..... I didn't care for it, but I did not make a scene over it.  There were two motivating factors in my acceptance of this little dog for the photo.  1.  I was in the last few minutes of my appearance and therefore had a low likelihood of allergic reactions those few families left in line.  2.  It just wouldn't be worth the effort to object.

It is my feeling that this will become more of a problem as people assume an "entitlement" position.  This coupled with the fact that the line between a "Service Animal" and a "Comfort Animal" become further blurred.

I come across more people "assuming the entitlement position" than you can imagine inside Neiman Marcus.  But there are also those who politely ask.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Caras

Most mall’s have a Pet Night for a reason. The SC isnt allergic and the suit used is a spare. They should have been informed of this. 

I dont care to hold dogs as I have been nearly bitten. Some are just as scared of SC as some children are and their reaction is generally to bite. I dont mind if the owner holds and sits beside me tho. I can see the need for service animals. As far as Comfort Animals go, well that just irritates the heck out of me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Johnny Boy
20 hours ago, Santa Marty said:

I had a similar situation just yesterday but with the exception that it did not involve a special needs individual and the "Pocket Puppy" was not a service animal.  In cases such as this and I am not booked for a Pet Night, the individual would hold and control their pet/service animal.  

Yesterday, a woman who returned for a photo because "the smile wasn't right" thrust her little pocket puppy into my hands..... I didn't care for it, but I did not make a scene over it.  There were two motivating factors in my acceptance of this little dog for the photo.  1.  I was in the last few minutes of my appearance and therefore had a low likelihood of allergic reactions those few families left in line.  2.  It just wouldn't be worth the effort to object.

It is my feeling that this will become more of a problem as people assume an "entitlement" position.  This coupled with the fact that the line between a "Service Animal" and a "Comfort Animal" become further blurred.

We have a service dogs only policy at Santa's House and most people are pretty good about it.

Yeah, the pocket puppies seem to be the big thing this year.  I had a woman wait in line then pull out the puppy at the last minute, nobody knew it was there.  

I didn't make a seen, either,  but as I tell my staff, once you let in the puppies then people will be bringing in snakes...

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Charlie G

I do allow animals, I have had dogs, cats, hairless cat, hairless rat. I do at least 2 pet photo sessions a year as fundraisers. Animals don't bother me. last year we had a dog that was nervous around Santa and the owner told me this. So , I ask her to sit beside Santa and she keep the dog close to her and i did sit still for the shoot. The photo session went very well. I respect people and animals. If the animal is scared or nervous, he/she will get it's space. I have the owner sit with the animal and things workout just fine.   Everyone has their own views and reasons for doing things. I don't knock you for not wanting the dog near you, I have no idea how bad your allergies are. Myself, i would have had the child stand or sit next to Santa and the child handle the dog.  Most service dogs are very gentle or they would not be a service dog. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SantaBuck

I still think this goes back to putting one persons rights over another. If Santa is allergic to dogs and doesn't want to be near one regardless of if it will touch him or not that seems like a legitimate reason for what he did. I hope he was as nice as possible about it. I don't see why coming back on dog day should be a big deal. I know a service dog isn't a pet but it is a dog. Ideally someone would have said something to them before they stood in a long line but the fact that there was a special day for dogs implies that every other day isn't for them. I'm not a doctor I have no idea how allergic you can be to something but I would think that that particular Santa knew how allergic he was to dogs and you should be responsible for your own health. Could it have been handled differently?  I don't know maybe but for the mother to get all irate about it is sad. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Gordon

I believe it happened in 2015 with a put bull and the owner was trying to make a political statement at the time. If the Santa is allergic to animals to the point of going into anephaletic shock and be placed in a life threatening possibility, he can not be forced to handle the animal. The Photo company and Mall have certain days and hours that they have a Santa that can do this work.

As in the Pitbull, this family is making this a problem and like the pitbull family they will do what they can to get what they can out of it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SantaBuck
45 minutes ago, Santa Gordon said:

I believe it happened in 2015 with a put bull and the owner was trying to make a political statement at the time. If the Santa is allergic to animals to the point of going into anephaletic shock and be placed in a life threatening possibility, he can not be forced to handle the animal. The Photo company and Mall have certain days and hours that they have a Santa that can do this work.

As in the Pitbull, this family is making this a problem and like the pitbull family they will do what they can to get what they can out of it.

 

I don't know the story you're referring to but I'd much rather someone bring a pit bull to me to have a picture made than a Chow or a chihuahua. I've never had a pit even act like they would bit me. I know they've gotten bad raps in the past but I think it's completely exaggerated. I'm biased though some of the best dogs I've ever had were pits. You can find good and bad dogs in any breed just like you can find good and bad people in any group... just my 2 cents. Merry Christmas,  love one another.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Gordon
On 11/27/2017 at 7:59 PM, SantaBuck said:

I don't know the story you're referring to but I'd much rather someone bring a pit bull to me to have a picture made than a Chow or a chihuahua. I've never had a pit even act like they would bit me. I know they've gotten bad raps in the past but I think it's completely exaggerated. I'm biased though some of the best dogs I've ever had were pits. You can find good and bad dogs in any breed just like you can find good and bad people in any group... just my 2 cents. Merry Christmas,  love one another.

The person that brought the "Service Dog" pit bull was simply trying to make a point trying to use the "Service dog" rules. The Santa in question was deathly allergic to Dogs and several attempts to have the dog come back when the other Santa could sit with them were refused.

She wanted to place the performer in jeopardy simply to make a point and it turned out this was not a trained service dog at all.

 

  • Angry 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa James

I see both sides of this, the allergic reaction and the need for a service dog.  When in a large public event, how would you tell if a child has been around a dog and have the dander on their clothes when coming to see Santa? I'm positive I have had children on my knee that were around dogs or cats maybe a 1/2 hour before.  And I am positive that some children that came to visit Santa weren't in the best of health!  I want to present the best Santa possible, but I also want to remain healthy at least until the end of the season. Fresh gloves and hand sanitizer helps, but I'm not sure what you could do for pet allergies, as I do not have them.  I do an event for Friends of Retired Greyhounds and is strictly photos with pets, and always dry clean the suit afterwards.

I would like to think, that if you have a service animal, you would check a public venue before hand to verify that there wasn't a special time for service animals, or maybe a special location. Asking before trying has always helped.

And I also have had the people who never think about a possible problem with their pet being with Santa.  One year at an outside venue, I did have a mother and teenage daughter come up and ask if I would have a problem of having a picture taken with a rat!   I think I was startled a little, but kept smiling and said no, at which point the teenager reached down her sweatshirt and pulled out a rat, then reached down again and pulled out another!  Mother and Daughter sat on my bench on either side of Santa and I kept my hands folded in my lap and kept smiling and we got the picture!  Well, they did ask!

I guess my only advice would be to roll with the punches and keep smiling!

Epson_01212017_033953.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Warren

I recommend everyone read a PDF from, Department Of Justice, ADA,  Service Animals.   This will clear up many of the questions everyone is asking.   There are certain questions you may ask to determine if it is truly a service animal under the ADA laws.  Any other animal visiting Santa in a public,  not in a home, would not fit the definition of the law.  

 

Maybe also give a copy to the set manager, it is 6 or 7 pages.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa Mark Kringle

I am allergic to short hair dogs myself. Fortunately for me I only get the reaction by means of direct contact with the animal. I am able to get around this issue by having the owner hold the dog or using a blanket to hold the animal with. Tough issue.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Donations

    All donations go directly towards the cost of hosting and running ClausNet!

    Your support, through donations or simply by clicking on sponsor links, is greatly appreciated!

    Donate Sidebar by DevFuse
  • Our picks

    • If You Have the Post Christmas Blues You’re Doing Christmas Wrong
      The post-Christmas blues are a very real thing. Once the date of December 25th has passed the specter of December 26th is an ominous marker to many. It sits there on the calendar like the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Silent and foreboding, the very image of the hooded Angel of Death it seems to be. And why not?

      Just about anywhere you look Americans are tossing trees to the curb, ripping down lights from rooftops and radio stations are flipping back to everyday music. What took months to build gets deconstructed in a matter of a couple of days.
        • Like
      • 25 replies
    • Auld Lang Syne
      Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in.
        • Wow
        • Like
      • 2 replies
    • Merry Christmas, My Friend
      Every year around this time, some variation of this poem is circulated online. The poem is generally credited to “a soldier stationed in Okinawa” or more recently since September 11, 2001, “a Marine stationed in Afghanistan”.

      However, the poem’s true author is Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt.

      Originally entitled, “Merry Christmas, My Friend”, Corporal Schmidt wrote the poem in 1986 while serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington, D.C.

      That day the poem was placed in the Marine Corps Gazette and distributed worldwide. Schmidt’s poem was later published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991.
        • Sad
        • Love
        • Like
      • 1 reply
    • Is it time to start calling out Bad Santas?
      Is it time to start calling out Bad Santas?

      Do you think we should start calling out those in our community whose actions or behavior is unbecoming of Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus?
        • Wow
        • Like
      • 94 replies
    • Backlash Building Against The Man Who Invented Christmas
      Backlash Building Against The Man Who Invented Christmas

      ChristmasWeekly.com
      September 7, 2017

      EXCERPT:

      There is a new Christmas movie headed to theaters this Christmas about Charles Dickens about his creation of A Christmas Carol and Christmas purists hate it. Already.

      The film has a stellar cast that features the dreamy-eyed Dan Stevens as Dickens and the legendary Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. Here is the trailer:

      “This is a very presumptuous film,” said Christmas fan and would-be film critic, Arnold Yates, via MSN. “Charles Dickens was great but he certainly didn’t invent Christmas. Bah Humbug!”

      That sentiment is growing online as the preview makes the rounds.
        • Confused
        • Like
      • 14 replies
    • Seeking recognition
      Seeking recognition is a downward path for a legend who performs his tasks in the veil of night.

      Recently, a fellow portrayer of Santa posted an image on Facebook that they constructed to look like a magazine cover with him on it and several story snips like many publications have on their covers.  You may have seen it if they are your friend on Facebook.  It looks okay.  The composition is good, but the rendering when uploading it to Facebook became distorted it and it is quite pixelated when you look at it from a development standpoint.
        • Love
        • Like
      • 13 replies
    • Not Everyone Can Be Santa!
      Yes, I said it and it is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do view many Facebook sites along with websites and posted photos. Frankly, many of these postings should have never been put on public display.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 1 reply
    • Are you the 'real' Santa?
      How do you answer this question?

      "Are you the 'real' Santa?"

      Read all the replies...
      • 91 replies
    • Infringement? Make up your own mind.
      In the last couple of days, on several different social media and bidding sites, an item has been offered for sale that in my opinion is cause for suspicion.  I would like to bring that product to your attention.

      There is some disagreement over whether or not it is an infringement or not.  I believe it is close enough to be considered as an infringement, but that is not the only the reason behind my post.
        • Like
      • 31 replies
    • Why Bass Pro Shops’ longtime Santa won’t be back this Christmas
      Why Bass Pro Shops’ longtime Santa won’t be back this Christmas

      Christmas is going to be a little different this year for families whose traditions include visiting Santa at Bass Pro Shops. Paul Davis, who spent the last nine years as the Bass Pro Santa in Ashland, will not be there anymore.
        • Sad
        • Like
      • 98 replies
About | Forums | Blogs | Newsletter | Contact


© 2019 MJR Group. LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Copyright IP Policy

Proud affiliate of My Merry Christmas!

Subscribe to the ClausNet Gazette

Enter your email address to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

About ClausNet

The ClausNet community is the largest social network and online resource for Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Reindeer Handlers, and Santa helpers for the purposes of sharing stories, advice, news, and information.
×
×
  • Create New...