After 21 years in the service, including 2 tours in Iraq, James Glaser, a disabled war vet, suffers from PTSD. For him, the night sweats, the tremors, the nightmares and the emotional instability are a way of life and would be unbearable but for his certified therapy dog, Jack. Jack wakes him from nightmares and settles him emotionally when thing get rough. And as a service dog, Jack is to be allowed in all areas where the public is normally allowed to go. Unfortunately, one diner owner in Oxford, MA, Russell Ireland of Big I’s Diner, obviously doesn’t care… not about the law and not about disabled vets with PTSD.
On Saturday, Glaser and his service dog Jack, went to Big I’s Diner to eat, he’d dined there on previous occasions, and the welcome was anything but warm. Ireland met Glaser, his wife and Jack at the door and let it be known that they were not welcome. Reportedly, the confrontation got heated and from Ireland was profanity laced.
“He told me to ‘get that effin’ fake service dog out of here.’” Glaser said.
“I’m not known for being PC,” Mr. Ireland said. “I may have sworn at him … I made a judgment call about this. I don’t think I was wrong.”
Glaser even produced certification papers for Jack although by law he’s not required to, to no avail. Police were call and even they tried to explain the law to Ireland who still refused Glaser and Jack entrance.
“Just the fact he did it in public, I never felt so belittled in my life,” said Glasser.
“This is not a needs dog to me,” said owner Russel Ireland. “He did not come in with a harness. There’s no muzzle on it.”
“It didn’t look like a therapy dog,” Ireland said. “It just looked like a regular mutt. This is a post-traumatic stress dog to give him emotional support. How much emotional support do you need when you’re eating breakfast?”
Glaser’s filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and is is organizing a protest and calling for a boycott of the diner.
“I made it very clear (when I left the restaurant) that I was going to do everything I could to stop America from going in there and spending one red cent,” Mr. Glaser said.
Ireland, although he issued an apology… to any vets he may have offended, still refuses to allow Glaser back into the diner.
Since Saturday, Ireland has been feeling the backlash of his decision, his voice is hoarse from fielding calls, some threatening, and even the owner of the property where the diner sits isn’t pleased.
“I’m upset,” Hank LaMountain said. He owns the property on which the restaurant sits. “Veterans are revered by society, including at Big I’s.”
A Facebook page, Boycott Big I’s, calling for a boycott of his breakfast and lunch diner-style restaurant has more than 21,000 subscribers already. Posters plan a peaceful demonstration, with service dogs and motorcycles, on Saturday morning.
When are people going to understand that it’s the law, per the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.
Business owners don’t get to pick and choose whether to allow service dogs into their establishment as long as the dog is well-behaved and under control. They cannot even request documentation, only ask if the dog is required because of a disability and what task the dog is trained to perform.
I’ve even read numerous stories of police officers obviously being unaware of the law and forcing service dogs to be removed. Sad, sad, sad… especially when it’s a vet… 😥