Maggie Leptrone posted to Facebook that her family was denied access to Center Ice Arena because of her service dog, which she said is a violation of federal law.
Photo: Maggie Leptrone
Photo: Maggie Leptrone

North Fulton ice skating rink apologizes after turning away woman with service dog

An ice skating rink in Sandy Springs apologized after not allowing a woman with a service dog to enter the building, which she said is illegal. 

Maggie Leptrone posted to her public Facebook account Saturday afternoon that her family was turned away from Center Ice Arena off Roswell Road because the “owner will not allow dogs on the property.”

She said she “tried to explain to the manager that it is illegal to turn away service dogs,” and she showed the manager her service dog’s card, according to the post. Leptrone told AJC.com “there is no licensing process (for service animals), which is what causes problems with a lot of businesses,” so she carries a card that states the law. 

In the Code of Federal Regulations’ chapter on service animals, only two exceptions for when licensed service animals can be removed from a premises are listed: the animal must be out of control, and the animal’s handler won’t take effective action to control it, or the animal is not housebroken.

Around two hours after Leptrone’s post, the arena posted an apology to Facebook that said:

“Center Ice Arena sincerely apologizes for any misunderstanding related to service animals and their acceptance at our skating rink. Because we are a family facility, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our customers. We welcome all service animals into our facility with proper documentation and understand how helpful these companions can be. Our management team did not mean to cause any consternation or ill-will and again apologize for same. We thank you all for your support and understanding with the situation.”

On Wednesday evening, one of the arena’s owners, Michelle McIntosh, sent a statement that said, in part:

“As soon as we found out what had happened, we took immediate action. Regarding the employee who told us he was not aware of the law, we used this as an immediate opportunity to re-educate our entire staff about the law.”

McIntosh said the arena reached out to Leptrone and her family to apologize and set up a meeting to hear their concerns. 

Leptrone said she will meet with Center Ice Arena’s owner and does not plan to take legal action. She said the ice rink and she “are close to resolving the issue.”

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