A former California police officer and his pit bull service dog were asked to leave a restaurant in Sacramento, California on Friday night.
KCRA News reported today that former Citrus Heights, Calif. police officer Joe Rangel had gone to Fanny Ann’s Saloon with his service dog, Crash.
Officer Rangel had hoped to have dinner with a friend, but shortly after Rangel sat down with Crash (who happens to be a pit bull), Rangel was asked to provide proof beyond Crash’s “service dog” collar indicating that Crash was a real service dog.
Rangel, who suffers from PTSD after a violent shootout from Oct. 2013, takes Crash with him everywhere. He stated:
PTSD service dogs — their main goal is to nullify triggers that a combat vet or abuse survivor or law enforcement vet might have.”
Mac McCullouch, he general manager of Fanny Ann’s Saloon stated that he was “worried for his customers” – particularly the children. Was this because Crash was a pit bull?
The first thing I noticed when I was looking for a vest was a thick collar around his neck with the words, ‘Stay away.’ And that automatically made me concerned about the kids in here and my staff.”
Officer Rangel only hopes that this was a teaching moment for the business – and for other businesses that might discriminate against service dogs.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 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.
The ADA further states:
Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability.
However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability.
Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.
Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.
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