Blind woman says she's victim of discrimination - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Blind woman says she's victim of discrimination

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany woman says she's been discriminated against nearly a half dozen times at various places around town because she depends on a Seeing Eye dog.

Bianca Stacey says she's been delayed at healthcare facilities and even asked to leave businesses because of her dog.

But that's illegal, service dogs can go anywhere people can go, and she wants others to understand the law.

"I'm not totally blind, but a hand has to be pretty close for me to see," said Bianca Stacey.

Stacey says several times this year while trying to exercise her independence she had a hard time doing so.

"In five places I've been held up, and in two places I've been asked to leave," said Stacey.

She said one of those instances recently was at an Albany healthcare facility.

"Phoebe convenient care on the east side," said Stacey.

She said a nurse came out to the reception area called her name, and then went to the back once she saw the dog.

"A really big guy came out and said madam do you have someone to watch your dog while you go in the back to see the doctor, because the dog isn't allowed back there," said Stacey.

She was shocked.

"We live in a new millennium and the Americans with disabilities for many of us levels the playing field," said Stacey.

We called Phoebe Friday and they said they couldn't comment on this situation, but sent us the hospital's policy that says in part 'we make all efforts required by law to reasonably accommodate someone with a service animal.'

"Are you asking people to leave their wheelchairs, walkers and canes outside while the go to see the doctor, if so she's my eyes and I can't leave my eyes in the waiting room," said Stacey.

Even a doctor at another office was scared of Betty.

"The doctor kept asking if Betty bit, and if she bit was she going to bite him," said Stacey.

Stacey said she knows she can file a report or ask the American Counsel for the Blind to intervene.

"I could go that route to be a litigious person but if I had to I would," said Stacey.

And she wants no one else to go through those hardships.

"I want people to know when you ask her to exit you're asking me to leave because I need her to see," said Stacey.

Bianca Stacey was told an internal memo would be sent to staff at Phoebe Convenient Care explaining the rules about service animals.

She's not satisfied because Phoebe would not show her a copy of the memo.

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