Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
I feel that the law in effect to help provide access to all places for those who are handicapped is good in its intent but not in its application. Here in Santiago de Puriscal one of our veterinarians has rented an office on two floors of a building in the center of town. This office does have a handicapped lavatory on the first floor, but does not have an elevator to the second floor where the examination room is located.
The doctor will go downstairs to talk with any pet owner who cannot go up the stairs. The vet will drive to a person’s home to take of their animal if the owner cannot drive. The vet also takes care of the animals of those who cannot pay the cost necessary care for them, and for the street dogs that get hurt. No one is paying for these services as she feels that it is something that she can do to help the community.
The owner of the building has refused to install an elevator to the second floor as is required by the law. The vet would have to pay for this to be in compliance. Instead, the vet is intending to move to another location, already chosen, and going through the process of changing ownership. As many of us know, this process can be a long one. But last week the authorities ordered that the vet. close her place of business until the conditions of the law are met.
This office is a small and good business which employs three people and helps the community. I do not believe that any handicapped people have been harmed or have not received good service because there is not an elevator on the premises. The vet’s efforts to move to new premises which will meet the requirements of the law should be considered. But the authorities prefer to enforce the letter of the law and not the intent of the law and put people out of work.
Piedades de Puriscal.