DENVER (KDVR) — A discrimination complaint was recently submitted to the U.S. Attorney’s Office by a person who had been prohibited from entering a Colorado winery tasting room while accompanied by her service dog.

On Wednesday, the announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado revealed a settlement had been reached regarding the discrimination complaint filed against Hermosa Vineyards located in Palisade.

The complaint arose from an incident involving a representative of Hermosa Vineyards, who confronted the service dog owner and her boyfriend in the parking lot before refusing to let them into the tasting room, despite the owner explaining that the dog was a service animal.

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act

“Businesses must permit individuals with disabilities to bring service dogs into any area where other members of the public are allowed,” U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan said in the announcement made on Wednesday.

According to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, only dogs are eligible to be service animals, and if it is not obvious if a dog is a service animal, representatives of a business can ask the following two questions:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? 
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

This situation carried similarities to a situation that occurred at Jurassic World in Denver earlier in the year when staff allegedly asked a service dog owner to provide identification for the service animal.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting equal access for people with disabilities who need the aid of service dog,” Finegan said.

Resolving the complaint against Hermosa Vineyards

Now, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado has ordered the business to post notices on the premises saying service dogs are permitted in areas that are open to the public, including tasting rooms.

Additionally, Hermosa Vineyards had to pay the complainant, the service dog owner, $5,000.