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Active-Duty Marine Allegedly Told He Couldnt Eat at Buffet Because of Service Dog
April 13, 2016
Source: WCTI News Channel 12, NC
An active-duty Marine said he was not allowed to eat at a buffet in Morehead City [North Carolina] because his service dog was with him.
The Marine, who did not want to be identified, has had his service dog, Gibson, since November. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD].
Gibsons owner and his wife said they went to Tsunami Buffet last Friday. When Gibsons owner tried to get food from the buffet himself, he said employees told him he could not and instead had to sit at the table with the dog while his wife brought food to him.
"It was heartbreaking and humiliating to be treated poorly," the Marines wife said.
We were contacted by people in the restaurant that day who were just as outraged as Gibsons owners. So, we did some research, which led us to our regional Americans with Disabilities Act Center located in Atlanta. We asked a representative if Gibson should have been allowed to go up to the buffet with her owner. She said [the dog] should have been.
"Whoever was working (at the restaurant) should not have said that," Southeast Americans with Disabilities Act Center Technical Information Specialist Rebecca Williams said. "A service animal can go anywhere with its handler that anybody in the general public can go."
The representative said, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, business owners and state and local employees are only allowed to ask a person with a service dog two questions. The first, "Is the dog a service animal required of disability?" The second, "What work or task has the dog been trained [to perform?"]
We [are] still waiting for a call back from the restaurants manager or owner. When I did go inside, I did see a handwritten sign that says service dogs are OK but they are not allowed near the food.
To read more about what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about service dogs, [visit the Department of Justice website at http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html.]
Note: The online story includes a video. (2:56 minutes, no captions)
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