Bellwood, IL asked in Animal / Dog Law for California

Q: How do you sue a medical clinic for not letting my service dog into the MRI room?

The doctor first told me that I could leave the dog in another waiting area, I told her that he has to be with me. She said she was worried about the MRI and I told her that the dog needs to be in the room at least so we can look at each other. She said the MRI is to loud and that I would have to Reschedule for another clinic site. I told her again that i have already tried to take an MRI across the street and almost did not complete. I had to stop numerous times. The dog is trained to keep eye contact and or sit on my lap because of Anxiety, PTSD and insomnia. She said sorry, we can get you also a wide MRI at another clinic, This is for Los Angeles CA

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1 Lawyer Answer
William John Light
William John Light
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Your question indicates that you are in IL. The question was posted to the CA forum and should be re-directed to IL attorneys. Assuming that your dog is a true "service animal" and not an emotional support animal, you may have a claim, depending on circumstances.

Business owners may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises (facility) if the animal is not housebroken or if the animal is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it. Unwarranted and unprovoked violent behavior, such as uncontrolled barking, growling at other customers, jumping on other people, or running away from the owner are examples of unacceptable behavior.

The owner must use a harness, leash or other tether with his or her service animal unless the individual is unable to do so because of a disability or the use of these would make it difficult or unsafe for the service animal to perform tasks. When a harness, leash or other tether are not being used, the service animal must be under the owner’s control through voice control, signals, or other effective means.

If a service animal is removed from the premises, the individual with a disability must still be offered the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations.

Here, while you are undergoing an MRI, it is possible, perhaps likely, that the dog would not be under your control. If that is the case, the dog can be excluded. You were directed to alternative accommodations for the MRI, arguably satisfying the business owner's obligations.

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