MTA Addresses Service Dog Concerns

Posted at 11:13 PM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 00:14:25-04

One woman claimed she was kicked off an MTA bus because she has a service dog, but MTA responded by saying it's not true and that just all one big misunderstanding.

"My parents always taught me to stand up for myself, and that's what I'm doing," said Julie Burch.
She's a Michigan transplant who calls Nashville home, but Burch said it doesn't exactly feel like home.
"My dad always told me Tennessee was nice, considerate , having Southern hospitality, but I find that untrue," said Burch.
Burch said MTA buses are her only way of transportation, but lately she hasn't been using it at all. She said it's all because of her service dog, Oreo.
"He helps me with my seizures my post-traumatic stress disorder," said Burch.
Burch is dying of brain cancer, and said Oreo will bark and alert others if she is having a seizure or needs help.
However, recently, not her illness, but the MTA's policies have been what's caused her problems.
"Before the stroller they had a problem with him. Now with the stroller that they told me to get, they still have a problem," said Burch.
Burch told NewsChannel 5 MTA officials first told her she had to have the service dog restrained while riding the bus, so she bought a stroller.
She said her problems didn't end there.
"All strollers have to be folded and out of the isle until the bus comes to a complete stop," said Amanda Clelland, MTA Public Information Officer.
On Tuesday, Burch was asked to fold the stroller, and remove it from the aisle, but the stroller can't be broken down; so they kicked her off the bus.
MTA insisted its policy is designed to keep passengers safe.
"She was asked to break down the stroller so that it wouldn't obstruct the aisle way but she was allowed to have her service animal on board with her under FTA and ADA regulations," said Clelland.
MTA said Burch and Oreo are more than welcomed to ride the bus, just as long as her stroller is broken down and out of the aisle.
Burch said the stroller cannot be broken down because it broke the last time she tried to fold it on the bus.
MTA said it allows people with service animals on board its buses.