MISSION VIEJO, Calif. –A mall Santa Claus has been fired for allegedly turning away a young girl with autism because he was afraid of her service dog.
Abcde Santos and her service dog Pup-Cake were apparently turned away from a Christmas display in Southern California because the girl’s service dog was a pit bull.
Santa apparently refused to take a picture with her because “those dogs eat people.”
The girl’s mother said she offered to take Pup-Cake out of the mall completely. She said she asked the Santa if he would just wave and smile at the dog.
But the Santa said, “No, because they support those dogs,” according to the mother. The family said when they tried to explain laws on service dogs, the Santa then said he was allergic.
The mother said her daughter Abcde – pronounced “Ab-suh-Dee” – was planning on asking Santa what he wanted for Christmas so she could make it for him.
The Noerr Programs, which provides photos with Santa to shopping centers nationwide, apologized for the incident.
The company’s CEO, Judy Noerr, wrote a post on the Facebook apologizing for the incident.
She said the girl and her family are invited to a private visit with Santa, complete with complimentary photos of the dog.
The family released a statement saying that the incident was resolved. The Santa and his elf have both been fired.