Man and His Service Dog Kicked Out of Taco Bell

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For the past 11 years, truck driver Pete Kleckner of Minnesota has been traveling with his loyal service dog, Snickers, a 13-year old German Shepherd/Akita mix that helps him to hear. While Pete isn’t entirely deaf, he has been wearing hearing aids since the age of 11, and Snickers is an important part of his life. When his alarm clock goes off, Snickers wakes up Pete. She also alerts Pete to strangers approaching his truck.


Under federal law, as stated in the Americans With Disabilities Act, privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

But, last Wednesday, a Taco Bell restaurant in Jessup, Maryland, Pete was approached by the manager who asked him to leave, saying they don’t allow dogs inside the restaurant. The manager threatened to call the police if Pete didn’t leave, despite seeing Snickers’ orange service dog vest.

“I said to her go for it, she’s a service dog. It’s protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,” Kleckner told ABC News.

However, when police arrived, they sided with the restaurant, forcing Pete and Snickers to leave the premises, even following them back to the industrial park where his truck sat waiting for his next load.

Taco Bell’s district manager has since apologized to Kleckner.

If you were Pete Kleckner in this story, what would you do?

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


  1. Wow. Yes… both Taco Hell and the Police were in the wrong. Yes, they should both apologize in writing, which may have already been done for all we know and people already been disciplined. But reading all these comments? Sue, sue, sue!!
    No wonder America is the laughing stock of other nations. That’s all we think about is how and when to sue. Seriously?

  2. wow, a lot of insensitivity from a few here. Why assume the dog was a ‘mutt’ or smelly? It would have been far worse to leave the service dog in the truck, and would leave him open to a fine and possible jail time for cruelty to animals if it was too hot in the truck.
    The service dog is allowed where he goes, so why should he have thought to leave the dog behind? I am not sure Taco Bell needs to be sued, nor the police… but perhaps a letter writing campaign to the corporate office and the chief of police might make them make a move to educate their staff and personnel to the law concerning service animals in public places. The service dogs I’ve met were clean, and more well behaved than most children.

  3. What a bunch of morons you people are (a hearing dog, get a grip ) I’m pretty sure that old pete could get by with out the mutt for a while so he could go eat. This service animal crap has gotten way out of hand. Any normal person doesn’t want to eat with a stinking mutt sitting beside him I applaud Taco bell for the courage to use a little common sense.

  4. There is no lawsuit here. The man has not been harmed and there are no damages to collect. It’s also wrong to blame Taco Bell as a whole for the ignorance of the one manager. Mr. Kleckner’s event, while unfortunate at the time, has helped to educate many on the ADA and service dogs, and will help prevent this type of incident from occuring in the future. Mr Kleckner, however, was not injured in any manner warranting a lawsuit. I do think Taco Bell should be gracious and offer Mr. Kleckner some type of compensation, such as free food for a year, in the way of an apology.

  5. I have decided to boycott Taco Bell. My brother is blind and has a seeing eye dog. Service dogs have a right to be in everywhere the companion is as they are the eyes,ears,and sometimes a voice for them.
    The manager apologized, but weher was he when the guy was booted? This is crazy,maybe it’s because you dit have the taco bell dog.

  6. I grew up in Maryland and lived there for 50 years. I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that YES, the people up there, a large majority of them, ARE that dumb!! I have traveled all over the United States, and Maryland gets the award for having the largest number of dimwits per square mile in the U.S.!!

  7. I think every service animal controller within range around Jessup, MD needs to converge on all local shops, especially Taco Bell, and see what the local Police do this time. They need a huge education, maybe a few hundred educations, if they’re truly a dumb as they have proven so far.

  8. Our family raised service dogs for six years as puppy raisers. Those dogs, while in training, have the same rights as service dogs. This allows them to learn to be well behaved in public places. Several years ago we were kicked out of a Pizza Hut because of the dog. I think that this latest incident shows a lack of training in the franchise. I don’t think suing them is the answer. But demanding that the police force and the company get educated on the law would be a good start to making this right.

  9. really? the answer here is to sue taco bell and the police department? isn’t our society a little too litigious as it is? I realize that making him leave is illegal (and how cops didn’t know that bewilders me) and I think the company should be fined because of it, but asking for millions of dollars (probably) because he was forced to leave a taco bell? Like I said earlier, I know it was wrong to do, but come on. Really?

  10. Jeez. The hillbilly didn’t get his taco. Boo hoo. You nutz want him to make some lawyer rich and get 39 people put out of work. Tell this “trucker” to grow a pair and eat his taco in the truck for one time.

    • Wow, what a lack of sensitivity! I agree that suing is a ridiculous option here, but telling a disabled person to grow a pair? Obviously you haven’t had to deal with a disability or the discrimination that can accompany it.

      • I have to agree. I am deaf and don’t see why a dog needs to go into the restaurant with him. The article said the dog helps him get up and warns him when people approach his truck. Not necessary in a Taco Bell. In my opinion. Now if a dog could hear what he people in Taco Bell were saying and could sign it to me, sign me up!

  11. No flame throwing here…but “inconsiderate” is not the issue. My only question is how the police could back up Taco Bells decision in asking the dog and owner to leave. Service dogs, whether offensive to others or not have a legal right to be in any establishment. Bottom line is this is a no brainer, the law is the law. I would be for Taco Bell making a sizable donation to a rescue group of choice that works endlessly to save and train puppies as service dogs. Yes , not all service dogs are bred for that purpose…many are pulled from shelters. It would have been so much worse to leave that animal in a hot truck as well….that is even more of a no brainer.

  12. I wasn’t there, but I have a different take on it. Before I start I have three big hairy dogs and I love them like children, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who loves dogs more than me. That said, unless you were there, you don’t know the condition of the dog… big dogs, with a lot of undercoat, can smell horrific. Again, I don’t know if this was the case but if it was, I wouldn’t appreciate sitting in a restaurant smelling the dog. The dog was in no way helping the man with his hearing handicap at a restaurant, millions of deaf people maneuver through life without a service dog, so bringing this dog into a restaurant really was rather inconsiderate to other diners. I suspect there was seating outside, which would have been a better choice. I realize it was legal to have the dog, but was it inconsiderate, I think so. My flame suit is on, so fire away.

  13. No more suits. We are way to suit happy in this country. Who pays if the police lose a lawsuit??? Us!!! The taxpayers!!! One person was ignorant and made a bad decision. Let them lose their job, let Taco Bell pay the fine for one of their employees violating a law, but do other jobs at Taco Bell need to be put at risk because of a suit? Does the management and ownership of Taco Bell need to pay because one of their employees was stupid? Does the dog owner deserve millions of dollars because someone was stupid and inconsiderate, even though he was not harmed and has not lost any money or income? Let Taco Bell and that police department take a hit in the court of public opinion, not in civil court. No organization likes bad press, and that alone is enough punishment for both Taco Bell and the police department and makes them all more aware of this particular law.