Boston Victim Booted From TJ Maxx Over Service Dog

Sydney Corcoran says she was told to fit service dog in cart

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 14, 2014 10:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – A New Hampshire teen who survived the Boston Marathon bombing says she was forced to leave a Nashua TJ Maxx because she couldn’t cram her service dog, Koda, into a shopping cart, reports NewsCenter 5. Sydney Corcoran, 19, who sustained shrapnel wounds and now suffers from PTSD, says a TJ Maxx store manager approached her while she was shopping last Thursday and said, "If you want to keep your dog in the store, you have to put him in the carriage." Corcoran says she tried to explain to the manager that Koda (who was sporting his bright-blue service dog vest and has been "crucial to my everyday life") couldn’t fit comfortably in the cart, but the manager reportedly insisted she comply with what was described as a new policy.

A shaken Sydney says she left the store in embarrassment and called her mom, Celeste, who lost both her legs in the Boston bombing. Celeste rushed to the store and confronted the manager for violating her daughter’s rights: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 states that businesses must allow service animals in public areas and that they are not considered "pets." TJ Maxx sent a statement to NewsCenter 5 apologizing for the incident, saying: "Customers with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals are welcome in our stores at any time. We ... deeply regret that our procedures were not appropriately followed in this instance." Sydney and her mom note on their Facebook page that they hope to continue educating "ignorant" people about service dogs and the rights of their owners.

Celeste Corcoran, center, a victim of last year's bombings, reaches the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014, with the aid of daughter Sydney, right, also wounded last year.
Celeste Corcoran, center, a victim of last year's bombings, reaches the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014, with the aid of daughter Sydney, right, also wounded last year.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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