Haywood Mall issues apology to teen with service dog - FOX Carolina 21

Haywood Mall issues apology to teen with service dog

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A Simpsonville teenager who said she was kicked out of the Haywood Mall because she was with her service dog has received a public apology from the mall's management.

The mall's manager posted an apology on its Facebook page and also called the teen so she could receive the apology in person.

Kaelynn Partlow, 16, said she was harassed by Haywood Mall security on Sat. Oct. 5 who asked her and her service dog Sabrina to leave. Sabrina helps Partlow, who has Asperger's syndrome, by acting as a barrier around her in crowded places like the mall.

Partlow said the security guard approached her and asked if Sabrina was a service dog. Then he asked for her paperwork and identification.

Even though Sabrina has multiple certifications and training, service dogs don't have to wear special equipment or tags.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is what South Carolina abides by, people with service dogs are allowed in public places, including shopping centers. And people in those public places are only allowed to ask service dog owners if the dog is a service dog, and what the dog is trained to do to help them.

In response to Partlow's story and request for an apology, the mall's manager Jamie Wright posted the following statement on their page on Thursday:

"On behalf of Haywood Mall, I would like to personally apologize for the way a minor patron and her service dog were treated during their visit on Saturday, Oct. 5. As the mall manager, it is my expectation that we welcome all shoppers to enjoy a safe, comfortable and accessible environment when visiting the mall.

"Unfortunately, some of our contracted security officers misunderstood the regulations regarding service animals and created an uncomfortable situation for our young visitor. We are addressing this misunderstanding with our security contractor to ensure that retraining occurs and correct policies are followed in the future. I am deeply sorry that this incident occurred, and I am working to ensure that shoppers with service animals at Haywood Mall are treated properly."

Candy Cannon, Partlow's mother, told FOX Carolina she spoke with management who asked her, Kaelynn and Sabrina to come by next week so they can apologize and meet them in person.

Cannon said they are very thankful for the apology and home it may bring about positive awareness for people with service dogs.

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