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Kamloops  

Arrested over guide dog

A blind man was arrested in Kamloops over a dispute about allowing his guide dog into a gas station.

Ben Fulton thought police would defend his rights, but instead he was handcuffed.

"I was very shocked and appalled," Fulton told CTV News. "I was just really surprised at how quickly it spiralled out of control."

The Toronto man was on a road trip June 16 when he made a pit stop at a Shell gas station on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Fulton says the gas station clerk was adamant his manager gave him "strict instructions" that pets were not allowed, and would not listen when he explained that Abbie is a working guide dog.

"He asked me if I wanted him to call the cops. I responded by saying that I would love it if he called the cops. I was expecting them to show up and enforce the law," said Fulton.

Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says when officers arrived, "they didn’t even notice the dog, they were focused on the man and woman."

She said Fulton was unco-operative, so he was arrested and taken outside.

Fulton denies the claim.

"I was very calmly standing at the counter when they came in. I wasn't yelling, I wasn't saying anything," he said. "The female officer asked me, 'Why don’t we go outside and talk about this?' So, I answered her question and I said, 'I don’t want to go outside because I'm standing at the counter trying to get service.'"

Shelkie says as soon as the officers realized Fulton is blind, "they removed him from handcuffs and he went on his way without charges."

But, he believes the situation demonstrates a lack in training.

"I really think they should have known that I was blind just by seeing me by my guide dog. They should've known that she's a guide dog by the fact that she's wearing a harness," said Fulton.

– with files from CTV Vancouver



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