Restaurant Turns Away Diners For Having Too Many Service Dogs

Police were summoned to a Boston-area restaurant over the weekend after a group of 13 diners, including six with service dogs, were turned away by the manager for fear that so many canines could cause chaos.

“Ignorance of the law: it’s an explanation, but it’s not an excuse,” one of the turned-away diners, who is legally blind, told WBZ-TV.

The restaurant had previously allowed diners to bring in service dogs but the manager was concerned that the half-dozen service animals could cause problems at the restaurant’s buffet and bother other diners with allergies. WBZ-TV says he suggested the diners let the dogs wait outside.

Police were called to the scene of the dispute, but the diners say they didn’t really help settle the matter: “It just seemed alternately that they weren’t interested, didn’t know, didn’t care.”

WBZ reports that, while the police could not have forced the restaurant to seat the diners, they should have informed the manager that a criminal complaint could be filed.

An assistant manager tells the TV station that mistakes were made in handling the situation and that flared tempers made things worse. He said the diners and their dogs would be welcome if they choose to come back.

Disabled People With Service Dogs Turned Away From Dedham Restaurant [CBSlocal.com]