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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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  1. Avatar Of Kevin Tucker

    Kevin Tucker


    Anyone can purchase an orange service dog vest online without any proof whatsoever of training and real service dogs are not required by law to wear a vest so, a vest means nothing. Businesses are not allowed to even ask if someone’s dog is in fact a service dog so how are business employees supposed to know if a dog is a trained service dog or just a pet? One word…. TRAINING! Employees at Taco Bell need better training to be able to recognize the difference. If a dog is well behaved and staying next to their owner the dog is likely a trained service animal but if the dog is running around, barking, growling, etc… then its a safe assumption the dog is just a pet, if you’re not sure do not engage with the owner of the dog and request them to leave. It’s really that simple.

  2. Avatar Of Bob Green

    Bob Green


    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?

  3. Avatar Of Darla Walkin

    Darla Walkin


    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.

  4. Avatar Of Mr Keith Schatz

    Mr Keith Schatz


    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.

  5. Avatar Of Cee



    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.

  6. Avatar Of Linda Hansen

    Linda Hansen


    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.

  7. Avatar Of Attila The Honey

    Attila the Honey


    I think everyone missed the point. Why would anyone visit a Taco Bell?

  8. Avatar Of Sally



    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.!!

  9. Avatar Of Wayne



    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.

  10. Avatar Of Lila



    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.

  11. Avatar Of David



    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?

  12. Avatar Of Anton



    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.

    • Avatar Of Lila



      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.

      • Avatar Of Mike



        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!

  13. Avatar Of Ron



    I am for the dog but how can a person be licensed to drive a big rig if he can’t hear?

  14. Avatar Of Joe Blough

    Joe Blough


    A Taco Bell manager is expected to be dumb.

    He was actually kicked out by the Cops.

  15. Avatar Of Aussies



    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.

  16. Avatar Of Airstreamer



    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.

  17. Avatar Of Lars



    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.

  18. Avatar Of Mo



    Time for Taco Bell (in Maryland anyway) to part with some peso’s. That manager should get busted down to the taco line at a minimum.

  19. Avatar Of The Dudeman

    The Dudeman


    It disgusts me how sue-crazy people are in our country….HOWEVER, in this case, he should sue the tar out of Taco Bell and the police department (shouldn’t they know the LAWS???) An actual law that most everyone should know about for the past 20+ years!!!

  20. Avatar Of Kathyx228



    This is absolutely unacceptable. Taco Bell as well as the responding officer should be ashamed!!! I am just in complete shock that the officer forced him to leave.

  21. Avatar Of Mindy



    Sue. Taco Bell and the cops.

  22. Avatar Of Dez



    wtf? who does Taco bell think they are, its not like they are some big beverly hill chain of stores. not only should he sue, those like myself who respect and love a disabled person should protest!!!

  23. Avatar Of John Connolly

    John Connolly


    What do u expect from those commie states up there

  24. Avatar Of Gm



    HE should do what HE feels is right. Just because someone is wronged, doesn’t mean he or she should sue. I love how everyone assumes that this was a malicious attack on someone with a disability. It may not have been. Just think about it a little bit.

  25. Avatar Of Stacy



    What the staff at this Taco Bell did was wrong, wrong, wrong. Unfortunately, you can blame all of the morons that drag their pets everywhere with them. May of these idiots go so far as to order fake service dog vests for their pets. You cant go into a grocery store anymore without seeing little purse pooches. Your PETS do not belong where the public goes to eat, shop, or be entertained. The law needs to be revised back so only REAL certified service dogs are permitted. As it sits now, pets can be drug around anywhere and shop owners can do nothing, or if they are asked to leave- then the shop owner gets sued or drug through the mud. Of course, when one of these pets bites 9which I have seen) then the victim goes after not only the owner of the PET, but the shop owner as well. Talk about getting screwed! I hope this Taco Bell apologizes publicly, and this doesnt happen to this guy again.

    • Avatar Of Heinrich Von Uebelschmecker

      Heinrich von Uebelschmecker


      In Europe dogs are readily permitted in establishment.
      The difference however is that the animals are very well behaved and trained unlike here.

  26. Avatar Of Sherry



    Picket taco bell with service dogs. This will get everyones attention faster than anything.

  27. Avatar Of Mark N

    mark n


    i am not a sue happy person. id rather make it well known to try and get as many people to boycott taco bell for 1 day and that would teach them to be more considerate. then i would go after the cops that made him leave and ask for a long vacation for them without pay because they think they know everything and if they use there authority and are wrong then that is a BIG deal…they need to be rite in their decissions. 6 months no pay and no doughnuts…get them where it hurts…

  28. Avatar Of Excuzzzeme



    As a disabled person, I can attest to the ignorance of many business’. Police are no better, they try to follow the law but are more ignorant than the business operator. Yes, they can enforce the managers decision to vacate the premises but they are still ignorant of the laws. I need to use a cart/wheelchair since I can’t walk well – the aisles are too narrow and smaller than the 36″ mandated by the ADA. getting things off higher shelves is next to impossible and asking for help to carry heavy items is also next to impossible. Most stores are very clear they only want able bodied people and disabled entrances are in an inconvenient spot (Sometimes around back.) Out of sight from the general public (out of site, out of mind.)And often the door is locked. Worse yet, the amount of ppl that park in disabled parking is unenforceable as well. The Uber rich, fat or minorities are the worst offenders. I have handicap plates for a reason and not because I want to park close to the door. I am not able to walk as far as normal people, been that way for the last 8 years. Being disabled does not mean being stupid. Unless it is posted – No Animals, the service dog can go anywhere the person needing it can go. If it is posted it is denial of equal access.

  29. Avatar Of Dj



    There needs to be a registration for service dogs. It is not apparent to a lot of people for the need. I am aware of abuse of the ‘orange vest.’ Similar abuse is taken with handicap placards even though they are supposed to be prescribed by a physician and many times only for a short duration.

  30. Avatar Of Michelle



    I have a service dog too, and I have been asked to leave a few places. But I quietly advised the manager or employee that she is my service animal, and therefore is allowed by federal law, anywhere that I am. Although I know they would have preferred if I left, I have never gotten kicked out of anywhere. It IS the law. If I were that man, I would have refused to leave, and let the stupid cops arrest me, THEN make a big stink about it, sue the pants off Taco Bell for being so IGNORANT. Shame on them! This type of stuff needs to bee heard about. An arrest of a disabled person and his service animal would have made the story super viral, thereby enlightening stragglers to the laws that protect the disabled.

  31. Avatar Of Erin



    I would sue Taco Bell, and the Police Department of that town.

  32. Avatar Of Carla Sorensen

    Carla Sorensen


    I live near Jessup, Md and I will not be eating at that Taco Bell!

  33. Avatar Of Bill




  34. Avatar Of Donna Fischer

    Donna Fischer


    Are Taco Bell corporate owned or Franchises
    If corporate everyone should start a boycott at all locations. (if even for a week) Hit them where it hurts.

  35. Avatar Of Donna Fischer

    Donna Fischer


    Sue Taco Bell and boycott them as well.

  36. Avatar Of Kalani



    I HAVE been in the same situation. I stopped at a lonely gas station in Yermo,CA., and the cashier refused to let me in to use the bathroom with my service dog … despite having ALL the legal documentation, ID card, and a service vest on my dog. I should have sued as well, but I just reported them. I will never stop there again, and I have warned other people about the attitude there.

  37. Avatar Of Beth Powers beth powers says:

    I am so sorry that we have failed to educated people of the rights of the disabled. Taco Bell and companies everywhere have a duty to educate their employees on the laws we have in place. But most of all the police totally failed to protect your rights in this united state of America. Shame on them and I hope that they were big enough to admit to their error and was truly sorry and will re-educate their police force on the laws in place as well.

  38. Avatar Of Mary Diblasi

    Mary DiBlasi


    It is ridiculous that business owners are unaware of this law and it is the height of ridiculousness that police officers are unaware of this law. They should be ashamed of themselves for embarassing this man when he was in the right all along. Come on people – service dogs are not a new thing – get with the program. Open up your minds and your hearts. Is it that hard to see what a unique bond and service they perform. You’re the one with the disability if you can’t see that.

  39. Avatar Of Lori



    Police cannot force people to follow civil law (such as the ADA). It is private property and Taco Bell can make anyone leave – however, the law they broke was a civil one, therefore they should be sued without a doubt. Anyone who says the police should be sued doesn’t understand the law.

    • Avatar Of Jeff



      (e)(1)(i) A person may not deny or interfere with the admittance of a service animal that accompanies a blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or mobility impaired individual in violation of this section.

      (ii) A person who violates subparagraph (i) of this paragraph is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 for each offense.


  40. Avatar Of Candy



    Thanks Taco Bell. You’ve just been added to my list of businesses NOT to go to anymore! Which of course includes your KFC & Pizza Hut franchises as well.

  41. I’m not sue-happy and think it’s overdone, but in this case I think it’s appropriate to keep them from doing it to others.

  42. Avatar Of Ruby Barry ruby barry says:

    I thought a service dog had to be with his owner shame on taco bell

  43. Avatar Of Denise denise says:

    sue them both,
    they need to get this right

  44. Avatar Of Kelly Sue

    Kelly Sue


    He should sue both the police dept. and the Taco bell. He wouldn’t even have to pay attorneys fees all he has to do is contact Americans with Disabilities and they can hook him up. These uneducated people need to be educated on the LAW! They represented my brother in law against his HOA and won!

  45. Avatar Of Bonnie Beck

    Bonnie Beck


    It’s a shame you don’t live in So. California, I have a PitBull of an ADA lawyer I would recommend you to.

  46. Avatar Of Robin



    I live walking distance from this taco bell. I will NEVER eat there again. Also, I will make sure I pass the word to everyone in my area. What is wrong with people anymore!

  47. Avatar Of Sara



    I would make it a point to go back in there to see if the apology was really sincere. I would also bring an attorney who is up on the disability law come along with me.
    And, if they do it again have a tape recorder there, get names of witness and get the badges of the police. Let them know you are recording their conversation and see how they back peddle.

  48. Avatar Of Birgit Worman

    Birgit Worman



  49. Avatar Of Judy Judy says:

    I agree sue both Taco Bell Corp. and franchisee also the stupid local cops.
    Probably a lot of Barney Fife’s, lol. I loved him.

  50. Avatar Of Bob Soltys bob soltys says:

    Yup – go after ’em. Don’t take “stuff” from dog haters

  51. Avatar Of Michael N. Compton

    michael n. compton


    sue them (both the taco bell and the police department)…and for such a large amount that it makes their eyes water just even to look at the number.

  52. Avatar Of Ed Lorenz

    ed lorenz


    and rip the cops a new one too …

  53. Avatar Of Claire Grant

    Claire Grant


    An apology is simply not enough. The Taco Bell should be sued-ed for braking the law the police also should be made to pay for not following Federal Law

  54. Avatar Of Kim Hall

    kim hall


    Sue them. THey cant do that. And sue the cops too.

  55. Avatar Of Tee Bowen

    Tee Bowen


    Lawsuit he and his dog are a protected class there is no excuse!

  56. Avatar Of Lola



    Yup, agree, sue the eyeballs out of them. They can take their apology elsewhere, they only did so to look like they care. Take them to court.

  57. Avatar Of Jonette Dangerfield

    Jonette Dangerfield


    sue … with a capital S … things like this don’t change until you hit them in the wallet. Sorry but an apology doesn’t cover stepping on the law.

    • Avatar Of Logan



      I agree with you.. but he should Sue both the taco bell owner and the police… for not following the federal laws…

      • Avatar Of Molly



        Absolutely agree with Logan!
        Just wish I’d have been there at the Taco Bell with Pete and Snickers! I’m a huge supporter of service dogs and the organizations that help make that happen.
        Not familiar with the way things go in that area, but the violations perpetrated by the Taco Bell employee and the Police Department as well, would have caused an absolute RIOT here in Portland, OR!!!

        Would appreciate anyone keeping me posted on what justice has been served, or still in process of being served. Thank you!


        • Avatar Of Linda



          I agree!!! How low down & dirty can you get???? SCREW you Taco H*ll, I will NEVER eat another one ever!!!

      • Avatar Of Char char says:

        the dog owner should sue both taco bell and the police dept. ignorance..

    • Avatar Of Janet



      I also have a service dog, Diamond, and have had the police called on me because of her being in a store with me. I would suggest keeping a copy of the ADA laws concerning Service Dogs with me at ALL TIMES, in both English AND Spanish and calling the Department of Justice(1-800-514-0301)and filing discrimination charges against those idiots that think that they are above the law. I’d also picket in front of the store if I can and let the world know that that particular locale is an establishment that is discrimimnatory toward the disabled. Get enough people together and it will wind up hitting them in the place it needs to, their profit margin.

    • Avatar Of Ashly



      What ignorance. Please express your outrage to Taco Bell Corp. Here is their Public Relations phone number listed on their website. Please call 949-863-3915!!

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