Local News

Handicapped parking signs covered at State Fairgrounds, spaces reserved for dog show judges

Posted April 17, 2019 9:17 p.m. EDT
Updated April 17, 2019 10:26 p.m. EDT

— A local disabled woman said she was forced to walk more than a quarter of a mile to attend a dog show after handicapped spots were reserved for judges at the event.

Raina Jones was looking forward to attending the Raleigh Kennel Club Dog Show, until she saw the parking lot near the Jim Graham Building.

“There were about 20-plus spots that were bagged off and labeled for current judges only,” she said.

The trash bags were covering the handicapped accessibility signs and a note taped to the bags declared that the parking spaces were reserved for judges.

“I had to park on the other side of that building, way over by where the Flea Market usually is. I had to walk over a quarter of a mile,” Jones said. “It’s very dehumanizing. It makes you feel much less than and it makes you angry.”

Jones’ service dog, Torrant, helps her get from place to place, but she was not expecting to have to walk so far.

“[The parking spots were given to] people who were obviously able-bodied, did not have placards, did not have tags. Otherwise, I would not have been upset,” she said.

Jones emailed the Raleigh Kennel Club and received a response that said, in part, “I am sorry that all 50-plus other handicap spots were in use when you were looking for a spot. That is something we cannot control since handicapped parking is on a first come, first serve basis. There are always other events going on at the fairgrounds on the days of the dog shows. This makes parking even more challenging, especially on Saturdays.”

“It seemed like an attempt to demoralize me, quite honestly, and make me stop trying to advocate for the disabled,” Jones said of the response she received.

The National Kennel Club’s response made her fell more at ease. It said, in part, “Thank you for bringing this information to my attention. The AKC expects clubs holding AKC events to comply with the law.”

Jones said she just wants to do her part in making sure something similar doesn’t happen again in the future.

“I am disabled. I am only handicapped whenever other people take away my accessibility,” she said.