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Wheelchair Users Sue San Diego Zoo for Discrimination

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express (subscribe)

SAN DIEGO--Two power wheelchair users have joined a class action suit against the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, claiming its entrance procedures regarding mobility devices violates their rights under the federal 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and state civil rights laws.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Rick Kneeshaw and Gladys Swensrud, both of whom use wheelchairs as a result of polio, say they felt singled out and embarrassed when park staff pulled them out of line at the front gate and told them they had to fill out and sign waiver agreements before being allowed inside.

The plaintiffs said the practice is a form of discrimination because other visitors are not required to sign such forms.

"We want the zoo to stop this policy," said Shawna L. Parks, an attorney for the Western Law Center for Disability Rights, who is handling the case.

The suit, filed Wednesday, asks a judge to order the Zoological Society to change the policy and declare the waivers unenforceable.

"Lawsuit says San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park discriminate against disabled" (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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