Woman alleges racism at Coralville Petco - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Woman alleges racism at Coralville Petco

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Chelsey Montgomery speaks with KWWL on April 6, 2017. Chelsey Montgomery speaks with KWWL on April 6, 2017.

Chelsey Montgomery says she was kicked out of the Coralville Petco because she is black. 

We spoke with Montgomery about her allegations last Thursday but decided to hold off on reporting the story until we heard Petco's side. 

Petco Corporate has released the following statement:

At Petco, we take claims of discrimination very seriously and do not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment in any way, shape or form. The recent situation in our Coralville, IA store, last week is no different. 
We have completed our internal investigation regarding the claims recently made on social media and to the press by Chelsey Montgomery, a former Petco employee and dog trainer who frequents our store, and have determined there is no evidence to support her allegations. The only reason she was asked to leave was due to her continued disruption of normal store operations and solicitation of our customers for her private business. 
As a service to pet parents in our local communities, we will continue to welcome dog trainers in our stores as long as they don't disrupt our own classes or other guests. 

Montgomery owns Knallhart Kennels & Training Academy and trains service dogs for a living. 

In our interview last week she told us she never solicited business at Petco, in fact she said she called corporate before going to Petco the night she was kicked out, to make sure it was okay if she worked with her dogs inside of the store. 

Montgomery tells us Petco is a great place to train service dogs to handle public situations. 

"You don't pay attention to that other dog pulling on a leash. You smell treats? You leave them alone," she says. 

Montgomery never mentioned in our interview that she was a former employee of Petco but she told us when we asked her today she did work there briefly more than a year ago. 

In regards to the alleged racism she told us she walked into the Coralville Petco on April 5th, a store she had trained dogs at several times. 

She says she had problems with harassment at that store before but had nowhere else to go. 

Montgomery says she was approached within seconds and told to leave but when she refused the employee called her the "N" word and said she was getting the police involved. 

Coralville Police confirm they did show up and tell Montgomery she needed to leave because the store wanted her to. 

Montgomery took to Facebook Live where she posted a video saying, "I was kicked out for being black at Petco believe it or not. One racist employee was able to call the cops and kick me out of Petco."

The video has 147,000 views on Facebook while another video made about the incident has more than a million views with several people vowing to boycott Petco stores. 

We asked Montgomery and her attorney Abigail Brown for a response to Petco's investigation outcome, they sent us the following statement:

Chelsey Montgomery is recovering from this traumatic and emotional event of discrimination at the Coralville, Iowa Petco on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. She has approached our firm to understand her rights and avenues of recourse with regard to this discrimination. We look forward to working with her to bring her justice and emotional peace.
We are pleased to hear that Petco takes these acts of discrimination seriously and have begun the process of finding the truth in this matter by conducting an internal investigation. We encourage Petco to reach out to other witnesses to the discrimination and determine if there are any recordings of the event, such as by the store’s own surveillance system. Chelsey has never disrupted the normal store operations or solicited Petco’s customers while on Petco premises, and there is no evidence to suggest to the contrary. At this time, we have reached out to corporate Petco but have not yet received a response.
Chelsey is happy to hear that independent dog trainers are allowed in the store, and she is hopeful that an individual will not be prevented from entering the property on the basis of his or her race again.
Abigail L. Brown and Persephone A. Eglaine, Leff Law Firm, L.L.P.


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