nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Archives | Subscribe

Local News arrow Courts & Legal News arrow Joe Beck arrow Pets & Animals

| 1

Court complaint: Pet store manager interfered with service dog

By Joe Beck

A Winchester woman has filed a criminal complaint accusing the manager of the PetSmart Inc. store at 2310 Legge Blvd. of interfering with a service dog's performance of his functions while inside the store, a misdemeanor offense under state law.

The complaint by Sherri Worthington-Waits identifies the defendant as Michelle Funk. The case is scheduled for an arraignment at 8:30 a.m. July 31 in Frederick County General District Court.

The complaint by Worthington-Waits states that Funk "did throw me out of the store" on June 25. Worthington-Waits said she was removed from the store when she tried to have her dog help her recover from a fall in the aisle.

"My dog is a certified service dog, and I am a person of disability," Worthington-Waits wrote, adding that, "Funk interfered with my service dog performing his duties and told me I was not allowed in the store if I called upon him to perform his duties as a service dog."

The court file contains a letter to the clerk of General District Court office from Joleen R. Okun, an attorney with a Washington, D.C., law firm, identifying herself as Funk's attorney. A telephone message and email to Okun on Friday did not receive a reply.

Okun's letter states, "I am interested in resolving this matter without my client having to appear at the July 31 hearing. Could you please direct me to someone I may discuss this matter with to come to an amicable resolution?"

No one at PetSmart's corporate headquarters was available Friday to comment on the Worthington-Waits complaint.

In an earlier interview, corporate spokeswoman Michelle Friedman said the company had been conducting a full investigation of the incident. Friedman said Funk is an assistant manager at the store.

Friedman said the company was still trying to determine what had happened between Worthington-Waits and Funk.

Friedman said the company had concluded that Worthington-Waits had entered the store with another customer to conduct some training exercises, which are normally permitted in the store.

Friedman said they had been training in the store for about an hour and that Funk "was aware of it and permitted it."

"Service animals are always allowed in the store, and we simply ask that the training is not too disruptive," Friedman said.

Friedman said Worthington-Waits cried for help at some point and Funk ran to Worthington-Waits and her companion to see what the problem was.

"From what we gather, they were simulating a scenario in which the guide dog would help (Worthington-Waits) get up. There was quite a bit of confusion and some concern and at that point, the (assistant) store manager intervened and asked them to leave the store," Friedman said.

Friedman added that the company was "trying to understand what we can do to help support training of dogs in that store."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

Keep up to date on local news

Sign up here to receive Northern Virginia Daily news delivered to your email box each morning and when breaking news occurs.


Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. View our comments/submisssions policy. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.

Local News Sections

Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Breaking News Briefs Business Charities Civil War Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mount Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Quicksburg Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Ryan Cornell School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Toms Brook Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Comments/Submissions Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

2013 Virginia Press Association Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com