Fort Myers Publix worker denied service dog protests with supporters


Video by

Fort Myers Publix worker denied service dog protests with supporters

By Emily Nelson. CREATED Jan 17, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan 17, 2014

FORT MYERS BEACH- Hunter and his supporters are not taking no for an answer.  They are prepared to stand in front of Publix all day if they have to... protesting until their voices are heard.

“What Publix is doing is wrong… it’s flat out wrong,” service dog trainer Tracie Dulniak said.

Hunter and others with service dogs are fighting back.  They say Publix denying his service dog despite a note from his doctor puts his safety in jeopardy and even violates the law.  Hunter says he is now prepared to take legal action.

“We are going to get a lawyer to help with legal advice,” Hunter Sewell said.

It hits close to home for protester Alexis Thomas.  Her son has autism and she is currently working to get him a service dog.  She has even started an online petition on Hunter’s behalf.

“We have over three hundred signatures, even people in Australia,” Thomas said.

Hunter says his manager at Publix told him there are not enough people around to help him if he has a seizure and that the dog would not be necessary. But that doesn’t help Hunter when he is traveling to and from work or when he is out delivering groceries in the parking lot.

“If I were to have a seizure in the car, then they’re not there,” Sewell said.

Hunter believes Publix is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Four in Your Corner reached out to the ADA office to see if Hunters claims had merit, but didn’t hear back.

We did speak with a Publix spokesman from the corporate office to get some answers.

"We continue to be sensitive to the issue and are trying to work with Hunter and his physician to understand his medical needs,” Publix Spokesman Brian West said.

When we asked why Hunter was allowed to have the dog for the first two weeks West said he couldn’t respond.

But the backlash from this doggie dilemma could hurt the grocery chain in the long run.

"I think it's ridiculous I go to Publix for everything and now I'm going to start going to win Dixie,” Alexis Thomas said.

Four in Your Corner was told that Publix is still trying to work with Hunter to find a solution that will work for him and his special needs.