Couple Kicked Out of Florida Restaurant Because of Service Dogs

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A Florida couple is filing a complaint with the county’s office of human rights after they were forced to leave a Clearwater Beach restaurant because of their service dogs.

It was Saturday morning when this Florida couple loaded up their service dogs, a pair of Maltese-Yorkie mixes into a stroller and went out for breakfast. When a restaurant worker confronted them about the dogs, they said they both have disabilities that require them to use the alert dogs and that they were protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Still, the worker did not believe the dogs were service dogs and called 911. When police arrived, they escorted the couple out of the restaurant.

The restaurant manager told WKMG, she is retraining her staff about service dogs and the AWD Act.

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In response to this video, a surprising majority of people have voiced opinions that side with the restaurant worker. It’s very clear that the general public as a whole is still very uninformed about service dogs. 

One commenter asked why the dogs aren’t wearing a vest, or why didn’t they just show their service dog certification. That’s because their is no central service dog certification system. Service dogs are not required to wear vests. A service dog can be any breed, any size dog. They can perform a wide variety of service, from providing physical assistance like picking up objects, or being used for balance, to detecting oncoming seizures and calming anxieties – and everything in between.

11 COMMENTS

  1. On one hand people with disabilities may have disabilities that are not visible (anxiety, depression, fear of xyz) . In NY, service dogs have to have a tag, with owners picture on it, and be registered. Usual very brifht neon yellow or orange vest that says service dog on the side. . .

  2. As dog isn’t a “service” dog just because you say it is. Have you ever seen an actual service dog in a doggie stroller? I haven’t. What type of service dogs were they? What service do they provide? Those people obviously weren’t blind or deaf? Plus where were the dogs vests and paperwork. I am sorry but they don’t look legit to me. I think they are full of bull. If in fact they are service dogs, what service do they perform, what’s their handicap and where’s their paperwork? Simple as that.

  3. Many of us here on the Dogington Post now of Gander – and he and Lon have had issues of being asked to leave. Gander has a vest-he has the service patches. And, yes, there are a ton of people who try to pass their dogs off as service dogs, creating much of this mess. There should be a central certification agency to provide paperwork/id cards, etc., for legitimate service dogs – and facilities that might other-wise ban dogs at their facility need to train their employees about service dogs.

  4. It is the Doggington Post that is uninformed.

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is the person with the disability who has the access rights, not the dog. The person with the disability has the right to be accompanied by a task-trained, well-behaved service dog.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act allows businesses to ask the disabled person to remove his service dog if the dog is threatening, or if the disruption the dog is
    causing is a fundamental alteration to the business’s practices. A clear example of this is a dog barking in a move theater. Silence is a fundamental element of
    movie theater attendance so a barking dog would be a fundamental disruption to the theater’s ability to do business. However, under the Act, the movie theater
    would be required to allow the person with the disability back into the movie theater without his or her dog.

    So depending on the circumstances the restaurant may have been within their legal rights.

  5. Sorry, but I am with the restaurant on this one. Anyone can buy a plastic tag on the internet and call their dog a service dog; I believe you have done stories about the number of fake service dogs out there. Last summer I worked at a wildlife education center and you would not believe the number dogs I saw that their owners were trying to pass off as “service dogs”. When I see a Maltese wearing a sheriff’s vest and hat with a plastic tag that says Service Dog, sorry I don’t believe it. When I see a Labrador wearing a vest with his Canine Good Citizen and Service Dog Certification patches I believe it. The funny part is, it was always the people with the fake dogs that pitched a fit about not allowing them in (we had wolves and bears at the center so no pets were allowed), the folks with the real service dogs never made a fuss.

  6. The problem as I see it, isn’t the lack of knowledge with the general public but the lack of a central agency that certifies and provides paperwork for service dogs. I constantly see people with small dogs in grocery stores and from the looks of it these are not service dogs. The problem isn’t with the legitimate service dog owners, its with the people who want to take their “baby” into the store to go shopping because it would be mean to leave them at home. Its interesting to note that almost every medium to large dog that I have seen in stores usually have a vest or some other identification that it is either a service/therapy dog or a service/therapy dog in training.
    Most service/therapy dog owners I have met have no problem with identifying the dog as such. The only case I know of here in Oregon where there was a problem, the woman was an advocate known for provoking store owners into putting them out and then crying discrimination.

  7. I am a bit torn over this. This couple had no paperwork, no identifying vests on the dogs.. I mean if this is actually the case, anyone can take any dog into any place and just say its a service dog. If these people genuinely both have disabilities that these dogs have been trained to alert to, they WOULD have something. At the very least something from the organization that trained and supplied the dogs. This just does not sound right to me.

    • My thoughts exactly…..if they were truly service dogs then go home quietly and get their vests and return. Don’t yell and scream and create a scene. That makes us all look bad to the public.

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