Mcdonald’s bars service dog of influential vet
A disabled veteran is suing McDonald’s for $10 million, claiming he was harassed, beaten, and told that he couldn’t take his service dog inside.
Former Army captain Luis Carlos Montalvan, who inspired Sen. Al Franken’s first legislative victory — a service dog program for disabled veterans — claims in the lawsuit that he was confronted by restaurant workers on two separate visits, and beaten with garbage can lids when he returned with a camera.
Franken, in an e-mail message to Montalvan last week, called it an “awful, bizarre story,” according to the Star-Tribune.
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s USA said the matter is under investigation.
Montalvan, 36, of Brooklyn, filed the lawsuit in October, a week after Congress approved Franken’s provision establishing a pilot program to pair 200 wounded veterans with service dogs from nonprofit agencies.
Franken said Montalvan and his service dog, a golden retriever named Tuesday — both of whom he had met at a presidential inaugural ball — inspired his proposal.
“Captain Montalvan made great sacrifices fighting for our country in Iraq,” Franken said. “I’m not entirely familiar with the facts of this case, but what I do know underscores both the need to help our returning veterans and to raise awareness and increase access for service dogs.”
Montalvan suffered spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injuries during two tours of duty in Iraq that also left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Tuesday, his service dog, helps him with balance, mobility and emotional support.
Montalvan’s lawsuit recounts a series of events that began last December, several weeks after he completed service dog training. Visiting a McDonald’s in Brooklyn, Montalvan was told by employees that pets were not allowed. He complained and a supervisor later apologized in writing and assured Montalvan that his dog was welcome.
Montalvan’s dog was barred from the restaurant again in January. Two days later, when Montalvan returned with a camera, the restaurant had been closed due to health code violations, but two McDonald’s workers confronted him and beat him with plastic garbage can lids, he says.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: access, al franken, army, banned, barred, brooklyn, captain, disabilities, disability, disabled, dogs, handicapped, lawsuit, luis carlos montalvan, mcdonald's, new york, senator, service dogs, veteran, veterans