By Stan Bush

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – A service dog owner says a customer at a King Soopers in Thornton verbally assaulted and intimidated her for taking her dog into the grocery store.

“He was pretty aggressive with me,” said Cathy Burds. “He said ‘is that a service dog? do you have papers for that dog?’”

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Burds says she was shopping for Thanksgiving at the King Soopers at 136th Ave & Colorado Blvd when a man she did not know tried to pull her dog out of her hands.

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“She had her vest on. I don’t think any dog in that man’s world is of service,” said Burds.

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King Soopers says multiple customers became involved in a tense and profane verbal altercation.

Burds, who uses a service dog because of a hearing problem, says a manager stayed with her as she loaded groceries into her car for safety.

“In the moment when someone is telling you they’re going to take away your dog, it’s like telling someone ‘I need your wheelchair, get out.’”

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CBS4’s Stan Bush interviews Cathy Burds. (credit: CBS)

Burds did not get the man’s name and because of that she did not file a police report. She says she was too frazzled to call police during the altercation.

King Soopers released a statement saying Burds had every right to shop with her service dog.

“Service animals are welcome in our stores, and we comply with all ADA requirements. Our goal every day is to provide all customers with a positive shopping experience,” the company said.

HIPPA laws allow service dog users to use their animals without providing much detail beyond explaining what the dog does. Because of that some people abuse the system to bring non-service dogs wherever they want.

Burds says those people are making actual users victims.

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“I think they’re cheating the system and they’re cheating all of us and it causes this man to act this way,” she said.

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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