South Carolina Church Apologizes and Changes ‘No Animals’ Policy After Turning Away Blind Man Because He Had a Service Dog With Him

A church turned away a blind man because he was accompanied by a service dog (Credit: Facebook)

A South Carolina church announced on Wednesday that it will be changing its policy after denying a blind worshipper entry because he was accompanied by a service dog.

A representative from the church told Yahoo Lifestyle that its “no animals” policy was a mistake.

“While our policy was certainly legal, we now realize it was not sensitive, wise, or reflective of our heart,” their statement reads. “This Sunday, July 7, 2019, LowCountry Community Church will return to its original policy of warmly welcoming service animals and, more importantly, welcome their beloved owners.”

Tiffany Burch, whose brother was denied entry, says she thanked the church for changing its policy.

“Although I’m unsure if my brother will attend again, I am beyond thrilled for the service dog handlers and their dogs in the future that can now call your church home,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle she wrote in a message to the church.

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The sister of a legally blind man is speaking out after a South Carolina church turned him away for bringing a service dog with him.

On Sunday, Taylor Burch, 29, and his guide dog were asked to leave LowCountry Community Church in Bluffton, S.C. Tiffany Burch, Taylor’s sister, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the church claimed the venue is unsuitable for a service animal.

The sister said that she received a phone call on Sunday from her family, with her mother in tears and her brother distraught from his experience at the church.

According to a Facebook post, Tiffany wrote that a man wearing a church badge took her brother aside and told him that dogs aren’t allowed on the premises, saying “churches have the right to refuse service dogs.”

Tiffany wrote that even though she knows that churches are “exempt from having to abide by ADA laws in regard to service dogs,” she is in “disbelief that a place that teaches love and acceptance” wouldn’t allow her brother to attend a church service.

Tiffany says that part of the reason the church asked her brother to leave was that it’s difficult to tell whether a service animal is legitimate.

“People with fake certificates and dogs are the problem — they caused the issue,” she said. “Service dogs have a unique behavior when they’re out, and it’s easy to tell if a dog is really a service dog.”

Taylor Burch took to Facebook on Monday and posted about the incident as well, saying he was “mortified and embarrassed” when he was asked to leave.

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SOURCE: Yahoo News, Mahira Dayal