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Iraq veteran upset after service dog denied entry to restaurant

Custom_sam_sheepdog_300_thumb By Martha | January 30, 2013 | Comments (4)

Service dog was denied entry to a restaurant

A veteran with disabilities was unable to attend a friend’s birthday party because her service dog was denied access to the restaurant where it was held. Jackie Milhomme said the owner of a café in Hartford, Connecticut refused to let her dog Jesse inside, even though the service dog was wearing a clearly marked vest and she had his registration and paperwork.

Jackie said that the owner at Nate's Café and Lounge told her that dogs were not allowed into the restaurant. "I said yes he is. It's a federal law I can have him," she said. "He is a working service dog. His vest states as such. I tried to show the gentleman his papers and his ID and he brushed me off with that."

Jackie was so frustrated and upset she left rather than push the matter.  “I went out to the car and I sat there and cried for about 15 minutes."

Service dog was denied entry to a restaurantJackie was with the Connecticut Army National Guard and served a tour in Iraq. She got Jesse a year ago to help her cope with the after effects of her time in Iraq. Jesse keeps by her side and helps her with her nightmares and flashbacks and keeps her calm when out in public.

According to WHDL News, some customers who were at the restaurant that night said they saw the owner ask Jackie not to bring the dog back inside.

Jackie is considering making a formal written complaint to the the Federal Americans with Disabilities Department. The Department said they will investigate to make sure the establishment is in compliance once they receive her written complaint.

Service dog was denied entry to a restaurant

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Comments on this Article

A written complaint would be a good idea. This establishment needs to learn about ADA requirements when service dogs are involved.
My husband insists that every business in our county has a picture of me with a sign that says "Forget the dog, beware of this woman!" I have taken formal action against several local business. I don't back down easily and if I absolutely have to back down, I don't back off. Ever. I hope everyone with a legitimate service dog will take appropriate action against those who try to violate their legal rights. And I agree totally with Wrich ... I would have walked out on my own party - after giving the manager a tongue thrashing he wouldn't soon forget.
Everyone in her party should have stood up, and walked out. I would have, even if it was my own Birthday. Look, the Owner may have "read" something about people getting service dogs who were not blind. Perhaps the owner does not think that PTSD is a real thing, or that a dog can help with that. Absolutely fine with me that they think that...but unless the Cafe owner is also a Psychologist/Health worker they should follow the law. Heck, even if they are, they should follow the law. Discriminating vs a Vet, and an animal is not a way to make friends and influence people.
Please, Jackie, PLEASE make a formal written complaint. I can imagine that it was hard to argue with the owner in person, but you can absolutely write down what happened! All people with disabilities that rely on animal support should be treated with respect and dignity. It could be you speaking out that makes a difference to someone else. God bless, and I wish you the best. Thank you for your service!
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