It’s not always immediately obvious why a service dog provides aid to their handler. Sometimes a blind person needs a guide dog to navigate the world. Other times, dogs support humans with difficulty hearing, PTSD, or seizures. These well-trained dogs go everywhere with their humans. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), bans public places from discriminating against people with disabilities. Unfortunately, one Utah restaurant didn’t get the memo.
An Unpleasant Situation
Several residents of Ogden, Utah, shared the same unpleasant experience: their service dogs were not allowed to enter a restaurant. The owner of Bombay Grill refused to serve the customers if they sat with their dogs.
The first visitor was five-year-old Jefferson Warwood. He visited Bombay Grill with his mother Missy and his service dog, Sage. The calm, intelligent dog helps Jefferson, who has Down Syndrome and doesn’t speak. Missy told Fox 13 that Sage keeps the curious and adventurous young boy safe and calm. Thanks to Sage, the family has little problems in public places.
However, they experienced resistance when they visited the restaurant. The owner immediately said no dogs.
Missy said this of their interaction: “We tried to educate him, and let him know that we have every right to be here. It’s my son’s service dog. He needs it. And [the owner] said, ‘No. It’s my opinion, it’s my restaurant. And I say, no dogs.’”
The family left at his request. Then, they went home and posted the ADA regulations to the restaurant’s Facebook page. They suggested the owner read the laws. The regulations say businesses that serve the public (like restaurants) must allow customers to bring their service animals into areas where customers are allowed.
But, this was not the last time the owner would turn away customers with service dogs.
Another Unfortunate Event
Within two weeks, the same thing happened again. A group of veterans, who know each other through the service dog organization 4 Paws 4 Patriots, tried to eat lunch at Bombay Grill. With this group, it was may not have been immediately obvious why they had service dogs.
This is what they told Fox 13:
Abraham Swank said his service dog, Temperance, helps him with his mobility and anxiety. Swank said he wouldn’t be able to leave the house by himself or go in public otherwise.
D Berard said Xena helps her with medical issues, in addition to PTSD.
“I also have severe hearing loss,” Berard said. “If there’s something behind me that I’m unaware of, she’d make me aware of it.”
The owner turned this group away, too. This time, though, the customers videotaped the exchange. In the video, the owner says he knows the rules but he still doesn’t allow dogs. The owner offers to serve the group outside, but the restaurant has no outdoor seating.
Fox 13 talked to Bombay Grill. They said they do not allow service dogs because they worry other customers may be afraid of them.
We’re sorry to report this story because service dogs are extremely important and well-trained animals. But, really, they’re much more than that. We hope the owner of Bombay Grill reconsiders this decision. Watch the story play out below.
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