Elmvale Jungle Zoo Holding Firm on Service Animal Policy

Family With Service Dog Turned Away Over Concerns Of Exotic Animals

A popular Elmvale-area attraction is standing by its accessibility plan after social media complaints a family with a service dog was turned away from the park.

A Facebook post on Sunday indicates a young boy and his Autism Anchoring Dog (AAD) were turned away from the Elmvale Jungle Zoo, over fears of what effect the pup would have on the other animals. The post indicates the child’s mother was told arrangements for the AAD would have to be made in 48 hours in advance, so that a zoo keeper could chaperone.

The Elmvale Jungle Zoo said in a responding Facebook post that it does limit access for service dogs; it says the zoo is an up-close experience, with guests a mere six feet away from the animals in some cases. The Zoo says for this reason, service dogs are only permitted in limited areas. “Although service dogs are thoroughly trained, their presence and scent trigger adverse reactions from our exotic animals.” the statement reads. The zoo says this conforms to its Accessible Customer Service Plan, which it claims is in line with other exotic animal zoos.