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Service dog owner denied entry into store

Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 21:29:17-04

A man suffering from PTSD says he wasn't allowed inside a store on the Las Vegas Strip because he was with his service dog and didn't have paperwork with him.    

A man visiting Las Vegas from Texas said he wasn't allowed inside one of the stores inside the Forum Shops, because he...

Posted by Marissa Kynaston on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

33-year-old Ryan Benicky of Texas says he was sexually assaulted several years ago, and his service dog, Sterling, makes him feel safe by creating a comfortable space between Benicky and other people.  

"The best way I can describe it is Sterling speaks for me when I can't speak for myself," says Benicky.  

When Benicky came to Las Vegas on vacation from Texas, he was shocked when he was denied entry into Belenciaga inside The Forum Shops, after the security guard said he needed to provide paperwork for his service dog.  

"I can tell you that feeling is very ugly, it doesn't feel good," says Benicky.  "It doesn't sit well with you." 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dog owners are not required to provide paperwork, and it's against the law to refuse a person service because he has a service animal.  

However, it's a confusing law, since owners of emotional support dogs have different laws.  They are required to provide paperwork, sometimes a note from their doctor, and they are not allowed in most public places.  

Benicky says Sterling is a service dog, not an emotional support dog, since he can perform certain tasks.  

Benicky says he wishes the guard had asked him the proper questions, instead of telling him to leave.  

"It's important for people to be trained to know how to interact with someone who has a dog and ask them correctly if this is a service dog," says Benicky.  "Treat them with respect." 

In a statement by a representative with The Forum Shops, they said, "The Forum Shops welcome all service animals throughout our retail center." 

13 Action News has reached out to store owners at Belenciaga, and have not yet heard back.