Windsor Family Frustrated After Via Rail Refuses Trip With Service Dogs

A Windsor teen is looking for answers after Via Rail is refusing to accommodate a trip to Toronto with her service dog.

Emily Sadowski went to Toronto and back in August with her own certified service dog and another dog which was "certified in training."

Her father Mark Sadowski says a trip was booked to head back to Toronto on Thursday but the family received a notice on Friday, December 1, 2017, that the trip was denied. Even though Via Rail is offering a full refund, Sadowski wants to know why there were no problems for the August trip, but there is now.

The family trains and fosters service dogs. He says his daughter was going to Toronto to drop off a service dog for someone who needs it, but the 19-year-old also requires a service dog as well.

He says it doesn't make any sense.

"This is something they allowed to happen just back in August and now they are basically all but denying that it ever happened in the first place. We have the pictures and the ticket stubs to show that it did," he says.

He says not only is he and his daughter frustrated, but the person in Toronto who needs the service dog is also out.

"It leaves us up in the air. The person is waiting in Toronto.  They have an event that is going on next week that they are planning to have the dog with them and they are planning to spend the holidays with the dog and my daughter is going to stay there for the week and do some training with the human over there."



Service dogs Pryia and Lilo. August 2017 (Courtesy of Mark Sadowski)


Sadowski says right now the trip is up in the air.

"They are not interested in talking," he says. "They are not interested in listening to why we need to travel with the two dogs. They are not interested in working out a compromise.  All they want to say is no, here is a refund and go away."

Via Rail released an official statement saying it only permits one service dog to travel and the two-dog trip back in August was due to an internal confusion on Via Rail's part. They say they  "sincerely regret the inconvenience caused by this incident."