No dog policy at church makes mom miss son’ wedding

QUINCY, MI (CNN) – An upset mother blames a Michigan church for missing her son’s wedding. She says it’s all because the church would not allow her service dog at the service.

Everywhere Mary Douglas goes her service dog Stella follows. But Stella wasn’t allowed to step into this church for Douglas’s son’s wedding.

She says it ultimately caused her to miss her son’s big day.

“I’ve cried a lot. It was a very sleepless night last night,” said Douglas.

Douglas is living with PTSD and has had the service dog for almost two years. She says missing the wedding is sparking emotions she’ll need Stella to calm.
“I’ve sacrificed as any single mom, any mom really, does for their children. For that not to be reciprocated, that honor not to be due to a mom on her son’s wedding day, it’s heartbreaking,” said Douglas.
Pastor Robert Montgomery says Douglas still could have been there for her son.

“There were several options given to try and accommodate and make this thing work but they were all refused so it kind of put us in a difficult spot obviously,” said Pastor Montgomery.

Montgomery says the church has had a no animal policy for months, including service dogs.

“The difficulty we find in letting animals in– so people know– if you have people that have a fear of animals or an allergy to animals it makes it very difficult,” said Montgomery.

“Under the ADA regulations if the church opens their buildings to a public event it’s now public and they have to follow the ADA’s,” said Douglas.

Douglas says she filed a civil rights complaint hoping to create awareness about service animals and help prevent discrimination.

“When there’s a disability that you can’t physically see with your eyes doesn’t mean that the disability is any less,” said Douglas.

The complaint is now at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

“I mean the day should have been about her son and his wife. And it’s unfortunate that it turned out this way,” said Montgomery.

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