Veteran and service dog booted from cafe
How many times are we going to keep reporting what’s basically the same story — a service dog getting kicked out of a restaurant or other business?
As often as we hear about it — and whether it’s a guide dog, a seizure-detecting dog or just a dog who is helping keep his or her owner on an even emotional keel.
Such was the mission of Junior P. Smith, a registered service dog who helps calm his owner, Don Smith, when he suffers anxiety attacks.
Don and Junior P. (alas, we don’t know what the “P” stands for) were asked to leave a restaurant in Clearfield, Utah, this week.
The owner of the Star Cafe, Litung Liu, told the Standard-Examiner that Junior — a Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix — was running around, trying to play with other customers, prompting him to tell Smith to leave.
Smith called police, saying the restaurant couldn’t kick out a service animal under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Smith’s psychologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City helped him register Junior as a service animal so he could bring the dog with him everywhere he goes. Whenever he starts to feel anxious, Smith says, he just reaches down and pets Junior, and the anxiety goes away.
“I rescued him when he was a puppy, and now he rewards me the rest of his life by helping me function in society,” Smith said. “He’s given back to me more than I could ever give to him.”
Smith said that although he had been in the cafe several times before with his dog, the owner approached him Tuesday and told him Junior had to leave.
Smith said Junior was on his leash and stayed under a table while in the restaurant.
Restaurant owner Litung Liu defended his actions by saying, “The dog just runs around and goes anywhere, even when I tell (Smith) not to allow it … We are a restaurant, and people are eating here. If the dog is quiet, it’s OK. If the dog goes around and plays around with other people, that is not OK.”
When a police officer arrived at the restaurant, he too told Smith to leave.
Clearfield Police Assistant Chief Mike Stenquist confirmed that, according to the officer’s report, the officer asked Smith to leave at the request of the owner.
“We’ll have to review on our end (to see) if that was appropriate,” Stenquist said.
(Photo: Erin Hooley / Standard-Examiner)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: americans with disabilities act, animals, anxiety, chihuahua, clearfield, disabiliity, disabilities, dogs, don smith, jack russell, junior, junior p. smith, pets, police, service dog, service dogs, star cafe, utah