As regular readers know, we have been vociferous in our support of people with service dogs being treated fairly in public places, such as restaurants. But here’s a story that suggests we might need some kinds of standards for identifying what is and isn’t a service dog. A couple in Florida, Lior Shar and Dr. Richard Davis, claims that they were kicked out of a restaurant because of their two service animals, which they say are alert dogs for their disabilities. Sounds like an open-and-shut case, right?
Here’s the problem: The “service dogs” in question are two Morkies, who apparently travel in a baby stroller. (You can see them in the video news report linked below.) They may very well be alert dogs, but who among us would think that, just seeing them on the street? It seems that restaurant managers and such are being put in a tough position in which they feel they are being taken advantage of by folks claiming that their dogs are service animalssomething that we know happens pretty frequently.
The worker says on the 911 call, “They are saying that their dogs are service dogs, but I don’t think that they are. Now they’re cussing and acting irate in front of other guests.”
I have no idea whether or not the claims of Ms. Shar and Dr. Davis are true; there’s no evidence either way presented in this news story. If these are service dogs, of course they have every right to be in that restaurant. But should there be any onus placed on the owners of the service animals to present them as such? Or should restaurants and other businesses err on the side of not mistreating actual service dogs and just accept that some folks will lie?
What do you think?