Disabled woman says tow company stranded her because of her service dog

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jan 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-30 22:15:26-05

DENVER -- For Belinda Williams, her service dog, Galen, is more than her best friend, he's her lifeline.

"If my muscles are in spasms, he'll take a rope and pull on it in order to help me sit up.  He can do bracing to help me get up from low positions.  He can also create extra space around me so that I don't feel crowded," Williams said.

It's why she was so shocked Friday night when she says APT Towing showed up, then refused her service because of her dog.

"I explained he's a service dog, the ADA requires he have this access," Williams said.  "He said he was going to talk to his dispatcher and the next thing I know, he's just driving away."

Kevin Williams, with the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, said he's not surprised but he is disappointed.

"He's in the wrong legally," Williams said.  "The service animal has to be allowed to go with that individual, that's the law."

APT Towing refused an on camera interview, but sent the following statement:

"It sounds like there may have been a break down in communication.  We do have a no dog in vehicle policy but, when my dispatcher said that it was a service dog, I told her that we would make an exception and the dog would be allowed to ride in the tow truck.  When my driver went back to speak to Ms. Williams, she was in her vehicle and on the phone so my driver put her crowbar back in her trunk, closed the trunk and went around to talk to her, she slammed her car door in his face and continued to talk on her cell phone.  Because Ms. Williams would not speak with my driver, he ended up leaving and going on another call."

Williams said she never slammed the door in the driver's face and was told multiple times they would not give her a ride with her dog.  She's now filed a complaint with the Department of Justice.

"When you make things harder for us, it's detrimental for us, it's detrimental for our dogs, for society," Williams said.