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Disabled Veteran Kicked Out of Florida Restaurant Because of Service Dog

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A disabled Army veteran, her husband, and her service dog were asked to leave a Florida restaurant when they couldn’t show “papers” that proved her service dog was real.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with service dogs aren’t required to carry papers or show any type of registration. They aren’t even legally required to wear an identifying vest, though most do.

Shelly Rivera, along with her PTSD service dog, Recon, and her husband visited the Palace Italian Restaurant in Lakeland, Florida last week. As soon as they entered the restaurant a man rushed to meet them at the door and demanded, “where are your papers?”

“It was very upsetting,” said Shelly Rivera, who served 10 years in the Army. “He was very insistent. I needed the papers.”

Business owners are only allowed to ask two questions: “Is this a service dog?” And “What task is it trained to help you with?” There is no type of registration required.

Rivera has filed a complaint with the ADA and hopes that by telling her story, other business owners will educate themselves on the ADA regulations.

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  1. Avatar Of Leigh Leigh says:

    This is very sad and upsetting at the same time. Have we not informed enough about the questions they’re only allowed to ask?

  2. Avatar Of Siobhan Lee

    Siobhan Lee


    Report them to your local council, and facebook the restraints name explaining what happened and ask people to boycott it. People should remember that but for fate they could be in the same position.

  3. Avatar Of Sandy



    Ya just can’t fix stupid!

  4. Avatar Of Jennifer Fremont

    Jennifer Fremont


    Anyone who is denied service should politely respond “It is againt the law for you to deny me service.” If the persist….” alright, who would you like me to call first,the police,a lawer or (for vets) the VA?”
    Now, I now that there are many out there that would not be able to do this due to anxiety or such. I am not putting you down for not saying this. I do think that those of us who can, spouses, parents, friends even bystanders need to get involved and stop letting people get bullied into submission.

  5. Avatar Of May Mccombs

    May mccombs


    There should just be a free id card with animals picture and owners.name.they should not ask what the animal does but if they can be of assistence

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