NEWS

Dartmouth man with guide dog denied service

08/23/2012 06:42 EDT | Updated 10/23/2012 05:12 EDT
A Dartmouth man, who is visually impaired, says he was turned away from an employment centre on Thursday because staff would not allow his service dog, Moe, into the building.

Troy Nauffts says he attempted to enter the YMCA Employment Centre of Dartmouth on Wyse Road but was turned away.

"The lady at the front desk told me I couldn't bring a dog in here and I informed her that it was a guide dog and that I can go in any public place by law," Nauffts tells CBC News.

Nauffts then tried set up his laptop, but when he asked for the facility's internet password, he says he was denied.

"I said, 'Well everybody else is using the computers here and accessing the internet and you guys don't have an accessible computer for me, so why can't I connect to the internet with the one I have?' And she said, 'We don't do that.'"

Nauffts is an advocate for the visually impaired.

He is currently unemployed and went to the employment centre to search for a job.

He says he runs into problems every few months when he's out with his guide dog.

He says, despite the humiliation he felt, he is glad he spoke up.

"It's 2012 and the education still isn't out there for people with disabilities to the extent that is needed."

Peter Parsons, with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, says people with service dogs are allowed everywhere in Nova Scotia.

"The only exceptions I've heard of are medical, like in the intensive care unit or that type of thing. Other than that, I've had clients in the hospital with the guide dog and anywhere that they could go, they need their dog to guide them," Parsons says.

Barbara Miller Nix, chief operating officer for the YMCA's Human Resource Strategy Development division, says in a statement to CBC News, what happened to Nauffts is unfortunate.

"We have already begun the process of following up with Mr. Nauffts, and wish to ensure he receives service that is welcoming and inclusive," she stated.

She says the YMCA prides itself on being accessible for everyone and says the incident is being investigated.

MORE:cbcNews