NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – A local college student claims she was denied service at a Walmart hair salon because it was done by her service dog.
UNCW sophomore Kirsten DeLuka said she had a scheduled appointment on Wednesday at the Smart Style Hair Salon at Walmart on Sigmon Road in Wilmington.
Accompanied by her medical aid dog, Apollo, Deluka said she had been turned away from the salon because of her service dog.
“After she called her manager the first time, the manager called back and said I had to leave the shop because dogs weren’t allowed because they were expecting a health inspector this week,” said Kirsten DeLuka. “So if the health inspector came in while I had a dog, they thought they were going to be shut down.”
DeLuka called the police after her interaction with the salon staff and said she was planning legal action.
“I hope that, as in the future, I will only be able to use this experience to help other people, because I know that two and a half years ago I couldn’t stand up for myself, but I want to be able to stand up for all of my other friends, the service dogs to have. This is constantly being illegally denied. I want us to feel validated. I don’t want people with disabilities or service dogs to feel less human because they have a disability, ”DeLuka said.
The Carimar Salon Group, owner of this particular SmartStyle hair salon, released a statement regarding the incident. It reads in part:
“Nothing is more important to us than our team and our community. We attach great importance to creating an atmosphere that is pleasant for all of our customers. Our salon welcomes anyone who has a well behaved service animal who is under the control of the handler at all times. Upon learning of this incident, we immediately spoke to our team, believing that with the best of intentions to protect our guests and employees, a misunderstanding arose. We apologize and have a proud history of serving customers with service animals. As a company owned by disabled veterans, we continue to strive to welcome everyone who comes to our salons. “
– Michael & Tricia Dickey
Carimar Salon Group dba SmartStyle hairdressing salons