Sign In

Service Dog Refused On Bus

September 2, 2020

A disabled Mesa resident says she is in a fight to ride the bus. She relies on the bus to get around but claims a Valley Metro bus driver refuses to stop specifically for her.

Kelley McHood has had to overcome physical challenges for decades.

“Over 65% of my body has third- and fourth-degree burns from the waist down,” says McHood.

The burns on her feet are so severe, she’s missing some toes. It’s been difficult, but she has her service dog Scooby to help her.

“He helps me get upstairs, get around, so when I need to get out I can get out.”

She doesn’t have a car, so she uses the Valley Metro bus on Val Vista and Broadway in Mesa to get home.

“My life kinda depends on the buses, because I don’t have sweat glands where I was burnt so I overheat quickly.”

It wasn’t a problem, until last week when a driver had an issue with her clearly marked service dog.

“He asked if it was a service dog, I said yes. And he said what does he do for you?”

The American Disabilities Act says when it’s not obvious what service an animal provides, those questions are allowed. But Kelley says this driver took it too far.

“He then humiliated me, pointing at the rearview mirror, yelling, ‘your dog better not bite anyone,'” she claimed. “But he was just sitting like he is now.”

Kelley hoped to put that experience behind her, but she says that the same bus driver now refuses to stop for her.

“We were sitting in the bus stop waiting, he started to come out of the cutout, he looked right at me, then went back into the lain to go straight.”

Both times that happened she had no choice but to walk home.

“With my injuries, every step is like a thousand for me. So now I have open sores on my feet, I have to go to the wound care at the burn clinic now, it takes forever for things to heal, and all of it could’ve been avoided,” says McHood.

She has filed complaints with Valley Metro and the Department of Justice because, under federal law, all service animals must be allowed to accompany people with disabilities in any place where the public is allowed.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more