Disabled Houston veteran booted from restaurant over service dog

by Sue on March 6, 2014

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Published February 27, 2014 FoxNews.com

A disabled U.S. veteran says he was booted from a Thai restaurant in Houston because his service dog was not allowed to join him in the establishment.

Aryeh Ohayon, who served in the Army and Navy for a combined 23 years and suffers PTSD, said his service dog Bandit helps when he has flashbacks or becomes depressed, the KHOU 11 reported. But he claims that the restaurant would not allow him to stay with the dog.

The report points out that Texas passed a law that protects veterans with service dogs from being refused entry into public places. Ohayon says he was told the restaurant is considered a private entity and does not have to abide by the law.

Thai Spice Buffett II, the restaurant, said it is looking into the incident, the station reported. The manager told the station that he believes the entire incident was a misunderstanding.

Ohayon said he was also bothered by a police officer who responded to the call. The officer asked why he needed to have the dog in the first place since he isn’t blind. Police, however, say Ohayon denied any disabilities during the conversation.

“It feels like your service and experience that you’ve done to defend and uphold the Constitution and protect this country have been belittled,” Ohayon said.

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: The Cop was totally out of line. And the Thai place IS open to the public. Therefore the “private” statement does not fly.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Char 03.10.14 at 7:21 am

Sad. I saw the original story posted from AP sources.
I have a support dog, not a service dog, and would never take her anywhere she does not need to be. But Service dogs?! They are invaluable and necessary. They are always well marked, trained, respectful and quiet.
Agree with Susie: the cop was Way out of line, and showed a definite Lack Of Inservice on this issue. I hope he got the name and badge number. This cop needs to repeat the lesson until he gets it! I would definitely contact the Police Commissioner and Mayor and demand the whole force sit through another round of lessons on Federal Law as well. And publicize this restaurant’s lack of training! The parent restaurant Must retrain all their staff-in every restaurant part of their chain-NOW!!

And Thank You, dear wonderful Veteran, for your service to our country. I pray for your continued healing of your injury. God Bless.

2 Junk Bin 03.10.14 at 8:51 am

and once again we have a police office displaying the all to familiar attitude of, I do not enforce the law, I AM THE LAW.
The police dept needs a visit from the US Attorneys ADA office as well as a visit to the restaurant. This is to familiarize them with the law while serving civil rights violation paperwork

3 Patch Guglielmino 03.10.14 at 9:04 am

This is a problem that healthy looking people run into. I have a service dog and suffer from flashbacks, anxiety attacks, etc. With my dog I am okay. she is a medic alert dog also. For some strange reason she knows before i have an anxiety attack and she warns me. People often think she is in training but the dog is working. I am sorry that happened to one of our service people but I am telling you people may look healthy but have serious problems and the dogs are a great and necessary help.

4 John Buffone 03.10.14 at 12:49 pm

I have one and I live in Del Rio Texas but so far no one here has treated us badly, as a matter of fact most places like to see us come in their business.

5 Char 03.10.14 at 2:16 pm

Yes, that is a difficulty I experience as well. (If our dog trainer had not left our area for the other end of the state, I would have had my Kerri certified as my service dog.) She works as such even though I have her registered as a support dog: she knows when my pain is going up, long before I do. She will not leave my side. I have several auto-immune issues that when they work together in a major flare, I am pretty incapacitated. She works wonders for me, and travels with me. But I do not look injured at all. For ALL our injured, wounded and those with health issues, I wish there were more we could do to help when this sort of thing occurs. And for those of us present when it happens: we need to get vocal. I have thought of keeping copies of the tag info in my wallet, to hand out to ignorant people. It is so sad to have this still happening.

6 Lester Kushner 03.10.14 at 3:09 pm

As a disabled veteran with a service dog for PTSD, I have had similar experiences with similar restaurants. My fellow veterans, families and friends, besides challenging them on their ignorance of the law, have decided to boycott thee restaurants and spread the word. One in particular where a group of us started to leave and advised him of our decision, apologized and offered me a free meal if we stayed. We served this country and to have people who are ignorant of the laws of the United States need to become better informed before they do business in this country.

7 sandy 03.10.14 at 5:38 pm

I am so sorry this happened. You are a wonderful human being who has done incredible things to keep me and all of us free. Now you have this beautiful dog whose only purpose is to serve you. How awful the THAI restaurant does not know the federal regulations and even more ignorant is the police officer even dared to ask what your illness was. I see two federal laws being broken. I hope you find some solace in the fact that so many people care about you and your rights.
I have a service dog too, although she is only 30 lbs. She is clearly marked and I always keep my doctor’s prescription for her in my wallet, but I would be livid if anyone dared to ask for it. Isn’t it enough that we are not exactly healthy…do we now have to show it to the world
again, thank you for your service and love your dog

8 Alyssa Magnuson 05.06.14 at 9:02 pm

Patch, people are always thinking that my service dog is in training and that I’m her trainer. They never seem to understand that I am the disabled person and that she is my service dog.

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