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Service dog still banned for SWFL Publix employee

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Service dog still banned for SWFL Publix employee

By Chris Day. CREATED Jan 15, 2014

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - A Publix employee on Fort Myers Beach first came to Fox 4 when he was told he could no longer bring his service dog to work with him.

Hunter Sewell suffers from seizures and uses his dog to alert him when one is coming. After getting the bad news at work last week, Hunter got a doctor's note for the dog but is now finding out that note isn't doing a thing.

Talking on the phone with Publix administraters, his mom,Beth Sewell, can't believe what she's hearing

"That is why you're turning the dog away now?" she asks astonished.

Hunter tells Fox 4 his dog, Shadow, never caused any problems going to work with him at the Publix on Fort Myers Beach. 

"He'll just sit in front of me, where the bags are, while I'm bagging groceries and putting them in the cart, everything works out just fine."

After two weeks, a manager told Hunter he could no longer bring Shadow unless he first brought a note from his doctor saying he needed a service dog at work.

"I'm angry. We have jumped through hoops, we have been patient, I have taken off work," said Hunter.

His mom Beth went ahead and made an appointment to see their doctor in Tampa

"All I want to do is for Hunter to be safe at work, and going to and from work. His doctor agreed, there is seizure activity, there is a need right now for the dog to be there."

But after Publix received the doctor's note, they told Hunter and Beth over the phone that it was too vague.

"You're saying the note does not state medically necessary?" Beth asked while on the phone with the company.

Beth tells us Publix now wants to speak directly with Hunter's doctor.

"Until they receive the phone call, Hunter can't bring the dog to work," she said.

Chris Day

Chris Day

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Chris Day is a video journalist for FOX 4