Nova Scotia

Driver ticketed for refusing to allow seeing-eye dog in taxi

A woman whose service dog was refused entry into a cab at Halifax Stanfield International Airport nearly three weeks ago says she's happy the driver has been issued a ticket.

'I hope it sets a precedent for the next time this happens'

Shelley Adams said she was too tired to argue with the driver about Pogo that night at the airport. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

A woman who was refused transportation by a taxi driver says she's hopeful things will change now that the driver has been ticketed.

Shelley Adams is legally blind and relies on her seeing-eye dog, Pogo, for help navigating the world.

She was at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on the night nearly three weeks ago she was refused service by a taxi driver.

"It was 12:30 at night, our flight had been delayed, and we just wanted to get home," Adams said. "And the cab driver refused me. He said that he had allergies to dogs and wasn't able to take me."

Pogo has been a part of Shelley Adams's life for 5 ½ years. (Eileen McInnis/CBC)

Nova Scotia's Service Dog Act makes it illegal to refuse working service dogs entry into businesses or cabs.

Adams said she told the driver about the law and asked if he had a doctor's note that would excuse him from having to transport service dogs. She said the man "just kept repeating that he had allergies."

The flight Adams was on had been delayed and she said she was too tired to argue with the driver. She took his business card and left in another cab.

Reporting the incident

The first time Adams called the Halifax Regional Police she said she was redirected to 311. "I called back and said this is your jurisdiction."

She said police then told her it was the airport's responsibility. Adams said she then turned to a national guide dog advocate who intervened with the police on her behalf. 

"An hour later, I started working with the police," Adams said.

The taxi driver was issued a summary offence ticket on Thursday. According to the Government of Nova Scotia website, the ticket means the driver could face fines up to $5,000 and/or six months imprisonment if he receives a summary conviction.

Adams said she's happy the driver was ticketed instead of a warning.

"Drivers just keep getting warnings and then nothing's changing," she said. "I hope it sets a precedent for the next time this happens."

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