Another Ignorant Restaurant Employee Assumes That Only Blind People Have Service Dogs


Just let Truman do his job.

How many times do we have to go over this? When someone enters a business with a dog and says, “This is my service dog,” the correct answer is not “You aren’t blind!” Yet a Texas Marine veteran says that he was asked to leave a restaurant because he brought his service dog in training into the establishment.

By federal government definition, a service animal can only be a dog (although guide horses are a thing) and the animal has to perform a physical function, not just provide emotional support. Some services are highly specialized and dogs train in puppyhood. Others, like supporting and redirecting a person with post-traumatic stress disorder, are things that a dog can be trained to do later in life. People can train their own dog if they have one, or adopt one from a shelter.

The dog’s breed or size isn’t important, which seems to lead to much of the confusion in these cases. PTSD dogs aren’t necessarily the familiar German Shepherd Dog or Golden or Labrador retrievers that work as guide dogs that most people are used to. They can be teeny terriers or muscular pit bulls, but they’re all able to behave themselves in public. In this case in Texas, the service dog is a Doberman, and is still in training.

His owner is a Marine veteran who served in the Gulf War, and says that the dog helps him to go out in public in spite of his post-traumatic stress disorder. (Many of the news stories about incidents like this feature combat veterans, but civilians can experience severe PTSD and benefit from service dogs, too.)

The Marine says that at the restaurant, a man emerged from a back office and kept asking whether he could see. He was then asked to leave because of his “attitude.”

If a person enters your establishment with a service dog, you can ask what task the dog performs for the person. You cannot ask what the person’s disability is, or why they require a service dog.

ADA Requirements: Service Animals
Restaurant refuses to seat Marine veteran because of his service-dog-in-training [Marine Times]

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  1. CommonC3nts says:

    You just stated that emotional support dogs do not count as service animals.
    post-traumatic stress disorder = emotional support dog, not a service animal.

    This vet should be ashamed from abusing the system with his pet.

    • JoeBlow says:

      Post traumatic stress disorder service animal =/= emotional support animal.

      Per the linked PDF of the ADA requirements for service animals, dogs task-trained to deal with PTSD are explicitly stated as qualifying as service animals.. An emotional support animal is not required to be trained in any task.

  2. DVnLRmx5ZBj says:

    There is no definition of what is and what is not a “service dog”. Although some states have programs to certify service animals, there are no general requirements for licensing, certification or identification of service dogs. Anyone with a disability can call any dog a “service dog”, if that dog has been trained to provide assistance to the individual with a disability.
    The ADA prohibits businesses from checking that a service animal is licensed or certified. Until that changes, we’ll continue to see pet owners who pass off their pets as service animals.

  3. Terryc says:

    Really must try to avoid assumtions CommonC3nts. A PTSD service animal can do much more than emotional support. This person may “freeze or zone out” at any time with a flash back a service animal can keep them safe at this time i.e. get them out of the street or the flow of walking traffic in a densly populated area. Of get them assistance as needed.You should be ashamed for the attempt to shame others by making a blanket assumption and not taking even a moment to check what else these animals may do for PTSD suffers. The internet can be a very handly tool.