Author Topic: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant  (Read 290 times)

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Offline responsiblek9

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Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« on: November 20, 2017, 11:18:37 PM »
http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dallas-county/man-and-service-dog-denied-at-north-dallas-restaurant/493464288

November 20, 2017  Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant

This dog is his lifeline. “I can’t go anywhere without her. I wouldn't even like to try. I need her.” So, last Wednesday, when Juliette wasn’t allowed into a North Dallas restaurant, neither was Richard. “Pretty much immediately the guy behind the counter told me I couldn’t be in there with my dog.”
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 11:28:23 PM »
So the PWD never tried to contact the owner or manager after the incident to straighten it out and instead went straight to the press and a lawyer?  I mean, the reaction they reported in the paper that it wasn't about money and they just wanted the problem fixed and that the owner's reaction sounded like it might be okay, it just seemed like they were acting like this was the first time they'd had any contact with the owner.

Let's suppose they went to the owner (by phone, mail, in person, whatever) and explained the problem.  And the owner also told them to hit the road.  Then they wouldn't say the owner's response sounded like it might be okay, right?  They'd be saying "HE CHANGED HIS STORY!  That's not what he said when I complained to him about it."

And the owner also said something about this being the first he'd heard of it.  Again suggesting the PWD never attempted to contact him, just ran to the press and the attorney.

If I'm reading that correctly and putting the pieces together correctly and that's what he actually did, then he's acting like a jerkface and making things harder for himself and for everyone else unnecessarily.

If you have an access problem, what are the steps people?

1.  Try to go up the chain of command within the business with your concerns.  Speak to the manager, owner, or corporate headquarters to see if they'll work with you to solve the problem.
2.  If you can't find anyone on the business side to work with you on the issue, THEN you request mediation or file a complaint.  If you really must, you can go to the press at this point.
3.  Then sue.

Educate.  Mediate.  Litigate.  In that order.
Kirsten and Tardis
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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2017, 07:05:30 AM »
I can't even read these articles any more because I value my nice, low blood pressure. Dar I ask if the article sounded like the dog was task-trained/

Offline OlgatheGSD

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2017, 08:22:54 AM »
It said the dog was "technically a medical alert dog" for stress and anxiety. Whatever that means. The "technically" part was a red flag because it was a quote from the owner. It carries doubt that even he doesn't believe his dog really tasks or that he even uses the tasks. At least that how I read it.

Quote
They have a very special relationship. “She’s kind of my baby girl and my babysitter all at once. Technically, she is a medical alert and assistance dog. I have bipolar disorder coupled with anxiety and severe depression," said Andrews.[/qoute]
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 08:25:59 AM by OlgatheGSD »
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Offline ccunnin3

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2017, 10:50:08 AM »
Why oh why must they always be PSDs? Can't a nice jerk with a mobility dog get on the news? It makes all the rest of us PSD handlers look like lunatics.
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Offline nobodylikesorange

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2017, 12:28:58 PM »
This is just sad. :sad: Back when I could actually work a normal job, I was a server at a pizza place too. I had a pretty large party table, A whole family, and they had a service dog with them. I am not completely sure but I believe it was the little boy's autism alert dog? Anywho, was kind of a busy day so I seated them in a huge booth by a window, not like secluded from other guests that were eating there, but a little bit of space incase another guest had allergies or problems with dogs in general. The dog was a lab, perfect dog. Just quietly laid there at the family's feet. No problems what so ever!

My manager obviously didn't care, and if he did I would of spoken up, I didn't know much about service dogs but I knew the basic law.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2017, 04:15:26 PM »
Funny, I read the same article and I saw no mention of the team being turned away because the person failed to answer the task question or because the dog was misbehaving.  It appeared to me, based on the owner's response when contacted by the media that most likely some employee was clueless about service animals.

Why then do a bunch of us jump to the conclusion that it must not be a legitimate service dog?  Where is that coming from, because it's not coming from the story, but from inside the hearts of our community.  What is happening to us that we jump to conclusions about others and rush to judgment without fact finding or consideration of them as actual human beings and without any right whatsoever to judge?

Something I've noticed particularly on social media (not so much here but definitely pervasive on facebook) is that the people who are the most judgmental, who are always cutting others down are the ones who are the most insecure about themselves and their own dogs.  It's very sad, actually that the only way they can feel better about themselves is to push someone else lower than they are.  Is this a behavior pattern that is then being adopted by others who are not insecure?  Is this behavior being normalized?  That scares the [censored] out of me.  It's one thing to say to Joe, to his face, "Joe, it's a bad idea to let your dog lick packages on the shelf because other people may buy that and they may care that your dog has slobbered on it."  That's constructive criticism intended to encourage a person to change an unpleasant behavior.  I have no issue with that when it's fair and it's kind or at least neutral.

What irks me though is this pervasive nastiness toward others who have done nothing we know of to wrong us or to wrong anyone.  I've been on the receiving end of it and I suppose this makes me more sensitive to the issue in some ways.  I've also been someone who was unreasonably judgmental and I've worked hard (and continue to work hard) to try to excise that quality from myself, and encourage others to do likewise.

This is suddenly worse that it ever has been in my recollection.  Why?  Is this cheetoitis?  Is this turning on each other because we can't find constructive ways to deal with our fears about our country's current political crisis?  Is turning on each other really a viable answer, a solution to the problem, if that is the case?

Why is this happening?
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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 06:37:10 AM »
Hah! Cheeto-itis. Like it.
No, I think this predated the cheeto in chief.  But you are quite right about insecurity. I've been gently probing it as my group moves toward DC to lobby for national credentialing of teams. When a SD user is opposed, (and it has always been a female owner-trainer) I ask if she is afraid her dog won't make it.  There is a pause, and then yes.  The fear might not be well founded, but it's there. Most disabled people are hypersensitive to authority figures deciding what we "need" as opposed to what we want. So the owner-trainers worry.  Those of us with privately or program-trained dogs should rejoice because we can hold the trainer or program responsible. 

I am now persuaded that instead of questioning the legitimacy of the team, it is indeed better to focus on the behavior, but I still think there is a factual reason for making assumptions, even if we prudently choose to keep those opinions to ourselves.  In just the same way that insecure owner-trainers jump all over a questionable team, handlers who know (deep down) that the dog is not trained to perform an actual task, but they have worked hard on a cover story ("technically she's medical alert")-- they are more likely to pitch a fit and go to the media. A person who takes the time to task train and genuinely needs the SERVICE from the dog is less likely to work a dog with poor public behavior. Huggers and people who sorta kinda think they have the right to take the dog in public are more likely to tolerate bad behavior or only take the dog places where they think there will be no problem (but then they act surprised to see another team).

I wish more people like you had the courage to confront a handler whose dog is licking food.  I have done that and it doesn't go well.  In one instance I told a woman that her dog had peed on potato chips.  She ran out of the store and I had to notify management.  Another time I left a store because of a snarling pit bull. After I loaded my dog in the car, the team walked past me in the parking lot, so I spoke to the handler. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was polite and focused on the fact that I had to leave. The woman said her dog wouldn't hurt mine, it just put on a big show because of an abuse history, and then she seemed to realize what she just admitted, and she told me to perform an anatomical impossibility.

I have a related question for you: when a first-time poster makes it clear that the dog is not yet task trained but she is taking it in public, should we say something?  I've decided not to, unless she asks about it, but what do you think is best?

Offline meeshymoosh

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2017, 11:09:12 PM »
Quote
Why then do a bunch of us jump to the conclusion that it must not be a legitimate service dog?  Where is that coming from, because it's not coming from the story, but from inside the hearts of our community.  What is happening to us that we jump to conclusions about others and rush to judgment without fact finding or consideration of them as actual human beings and without any right whatsoever to judge?

A thousand times yes. I really, really hate that this is the immediate conclusion to something we don't immediately understand. Empathy is a learned trait, and we can never know someone's time outside of a small snippet. Can we really base a parent's competency on a child's meltdown at Walmart (an example) or a whole service dog's career on a bad day or an article? It's also REALLY hard to explain what a PSD does on the spot, in a succinct sort of way, without any emotional anything that can be misconstrued, to a populace that doesn't understand service dog jargon. Can we have some grace?
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Offline qtrhorse89

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 12:38:22 AM »
Thank you for bringing this up Kirsten. I have been watching over the past few weeks how this community and others that I have joined react to news stories involving SDs. I've chimed in on a few, but mostly I've simply observed.

The conclusion I've come to is that I hope I never ever end up in one of these articles or news stories! I too have noticed people, more on FB than here, are quick to judge the legitimacy of the SD and handler based on nothing more than how the journalist chose to write up the story. In the case of this article the quote "technically she's medical alert" is being used. In another, the journalist described how the dog laying on the handlers stomach calmed her during panic attacks, etc. We must remember these are not necessarily the exact words of the handler, but how the reporter interpreted the handlers words and later on reported on them. To me, neither of these provides nearly enough evidence to warrant judgement on the handler or the dog. It's concerning that that is often the direction the discussion goes when these are posted, instead of discussing what the actual article is focusing on: the supposed denial of service in this case. Kirsten I really appreciate your earlier discussion on the steps to take in an access dispute. It sounds like this guy missed a step and may have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had gone to the owner first instead of going to the media first.

For example, alerting to anxiety (arguably a strong trained task): the handler describes to the reporter how the dog responds to minute physical symptoms not noticed by the handler and paws the handler to alert the beginning of an anxiety episode prompting the handler to begin doing whatever medical/behavioral steps necessary to control the anxiety. Assuming the reporter understands that statement, there is still the issue that it is wordy, readers may not understand it, and quite honestly it's not as appealing than a simple 'the dog helps control the anxiety by pawing and comforting the handler'. As a species, we love to anthropomorphosize everything and the reporter probably has no clue that they've inadvertently taken a well described task and turned it into a vague task bordering on a behavior that solely provides comfort. The handler thinks they've adequately explained the dog's task, the reporter thinks they've managed to convey the dog's job to their audience in a more understandable way, the article gets published, and the task gets called into question as a legitimate task. 

I also agree with Meeshymoosh that this is more likely to happen with a PSDs tasks where oftentimes the goal of the task is to prompt the handler to make a change in their own behavior. That is much more complicated to convey in a manner that avoids any reference to providing comfort than a SD trained to pick up items from the floor for a handler who is wheelchair bound or who can't bend over easily.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 12:45:32 AM by qtrhorse89 »

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2017, 01:36:44 AM »
Whether someone rushes to the press has a lot more to do with how well trained they were in handling access issues, how experienced they are and the specific nature of their disability than confidence in their dogs' training.

Right now I'm seeing a lot more news stories on veterans having access problems.  Is that because veterans experience more access problems than the general population of SD users?  I think not.  I have noticed that people with PSDs are more likely to rush to complaints or the press than say people with guide or mobility dogs and that's probably one factor they have in common with the vets:  the disability is mental illness and that usually means some struggles with management of emotions and becoming emotionally overwhelmed.  That's what I mean when I say the specific nature of the disability is a factor.  Access disputes are a lot harder on people with severe anxiety and PTSD.  Say two people experience the same exact access issue but one of them is deaf let's say and the other is disabled by an anxiety disorder.  The deaf person might rate the stress from the access issue 3 out of 10, but the person with anxiety is going to rate it higher even if they have the exact same experience, maybe 7 out of 10 or higher yet.  This is one of those things a person with severe anxiety considering a service dog needs to really consider carefully because conficts and attention are going to tend to be a lot harder (more stressful) for them than for others.

I've noticed along with the pattern of veteran stories that they tend not to be well versed in what their legal rights actually are and they cite the wrong laws or misrepresent what these laws say.  I really don't think that's due to deception but due to not understanding federal disability laws.  I see it a lot in owner-trainers, this problem, but I see it most in people who get their service dogs from fly by night programs that do little to nothing to prepare their teams for success.  How to handle access issues should be not only covered in team training, but role played.  Because it's going to happen and there are things the handler can do to significantly up his or her chances of a quick, reduced stress resolution.  There are things they can do to excalate the problem and make it a lot worse too.

And, of course, we are all capable of learning with experience, by making mistakes and learning from them, by trying multiple approaches to find what works best, and by asking for guidance on handling these things better.  It appears to me that a new handler, one with less than six months experience, is substantially more likely to go to the press than an experienced handler, because that experienced handler has more options and more tools at their disposal and because it's not going to get to them quite as much because they've developed approaches that help make it less miserable to experience.

In my observation, what I've seen is that people not confident in their dogs tend to retreat when confronted.  Sometimes it's an exlosive retreat and sometimes it's just a retreat, but they leave.  I'm not suggesting all who leave do so because they don't think their dog or handling is up to snuff.  Sometimes leaving really is your best course of action.  But if you are insecure about your dog's training or your handling, does going to the press really sound like a good idea?  I mean, sure, there are some who will do that, who will double down.  But do you really think the bulk of people who don't think they are good enough are going to do that?  I suppose it makes a difference if they are egged on by people in social media, who do tend to egg each other on because these online people don't feel like real people to them who could suffer real pain making a poor choice.  It feels more like a game character.

Still, inadequate training to perform the function doesn't actually mean it's not a legitimate service dog.  If it meets the definition in 28 CFR 36.104, then it's a service dog.  And the only way to determine whether it meets that definition is to ask the two questions, at least for public access situations.  There are poorly trained service dogs out there.  It sucks but there it is.  Saying things like "Real Muslims or Real Christians wouldn't do that" is neither accurate nor helpful.  The same is true with service dog teams.  Saying "a real service dog wouldn't do that" does nothing to fix the problem because it alienates the person who needs to receive the constructive criticism in a way that doesn't cause their defenses to block what you are trying to tell them.  They have to feel safe enough to listen and to hear and then take to heart the advice.
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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2017, 05:55:20 AM »
I'm hoping we can further this civil discourse. So far, it's great.  And I am seriously asking questions in good faith, not as part of an argument.

We know there are charities that supply a vest and ID card to a veteran, "train" the veteran's existing pet in the visit command (handler calls dog and says "visit," dog comes close for petting). I can't speak for the charities, but their motivation must range from sincere (this helps the veteran stay calm and under the law it qualifies the dog for public access), to straight-up fraud (this allows us to raise money even though we know the team would not survive a court challenge). 

While I agree that public scenes and Internet shaming are emphatically not the way to go, if one of these situations comes to our attention, what should we do?

My program never comments on news stories, but sometimes the involved parties call for help. There was an unpleasant case several years back. It was a calamity of ignorance. A nameless charity (national) provided a cape and ID card to a veteran with a pet and told him his dog now had public access rights.  The veteran and dog went to a diner for breakfast, encouraged the dog to visit with other diners who wanted to pet the dog, and then fed table scraps by putting plates on the floor. When the veteran came back a few days later, the owner yelled at him to leave the dog outside. The veteran went to the press.  There was an outcry. The press reported that the dog provided emotional support. The diner owner asked how much emotional support a person needed to eat breakfast.  The diner owner got death threats at home. My program did not advise the diner owner but explained the law to him. He got in touch with the veteran and they resolved their differences and shook hands. After that I don't know what happened, and I don't know if anyone ever explained to the veteran that (a) if the dog was not task trained he should not be taking it to restaurants, (b) even if the dog is task trained, it should not be fed in an establishment, or (c) that an ADI program a few miles from his home could supply a PTSD dog quite quickly and at no cost with no fundraising requirement.

In another instance, after the Boston Marathon bombings, a charity in Florida shipped two 8-week old puppies to a mom and daughter who were both badly injured, telling them that they now had service dogs. The mom was interviewed with both dogs on a double lead, wearing vests, leaping around and jumping on people as she entered a store. She laughingly said that the dogs were not very well behaved, but they made her feel so much better-- they were like her personal cheerleaders. Later she went to the press about a third dog, a Yorkie who wore an ESD vest, when a store (clothing and housewares) denied her access. In response to the media, the store changed its policy to pet friendly. I used to shop there, but not any more, because of the attacks.

Perhaps we could all agree that education is in everyone's best interest, and no one objects to polite discussions with proprietors, but what about the people who are misled by Facebook and unethical charities? Should anyone educate them? If so, what would be the best way?

Offline ZombieFodder

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2017, 10:29:59 AM »
I think it can also be shyness. I'm not cripplingly shy, but I don't like attention. It would have to be REALLY REALLY bad for me to ever go to the press or sue anyone. REALLY bad. Like physical injury or huge loss of money. I've had plenty of access issues over dog and/or chair that didn't work out in my favor and I still wouldn't do anything other than sometimes letting a corporate headquarters know in the case of retail. The only time the press was ever involved was when I was a kid and it wasn't my choice and my parents kept me away from it. The press was actually very understanding when my dad told them I was crying over it. Its just not my thing.

One thing I usually don't do is retreat though. For whatever reason I do OK with telling people no when I'm right there, most especially with the chair. The dog I was a lot more relaxed about us sitting in a certain spot or being told to leave. I didn't really take it personally, but I do the chair.

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Offline Schroder

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2017, 10:48:01 AM »
I can only speak to my experiences, as an owner-trainer for our dog. My partner is a veteran and uses Vidar for a combination of psychiatric support and physical support. Some of his tasks are bonus tasks (he's never been trained to do it, and does 'It' often and sometimes without a cue) and some of them are very much trained and on cue.
We chose Vidar as older puppy/young dog rescue and specifically for this purpose- and if I could go back in time with what I know now, most of what we did would not be done again. Like Kirsten said, you live and make mistakes and learn from them and get better. We've done a lot of training- both with and without an outside trainer. And this site has been critical in giving me the phrasing, the task ideas, and the training support to make our team as strong as it can be.
Our experiences with PA around the Dallas/Ft Worth area have run from outright ignorance (You aren't blind, you aren't in a wheelchair, that's a pet) to somewhat understanding of the law (I know you can have them and I should ask some questions, but I don't know what they are, so tell me all about your disability and what the dog does and what you ate for breakfast last Tuesday) and everything in between.
For a while, we carried small cards with the exact law on one side and a "lay man's explanation" on the other side. I found that the card always helped more when a verbal explanation was given along with the card. We've used them up, and I haven't ordered more- partly because sometimes people assumed it some sort of official id given to us by the "ADA".
Part of my partner's PTSD is a refusal to go to new places, due to this, we are "regulars" at places, even those that at first didn't want Vidar to come in and didn't understand what he was for. Over time, they've seen Vidar in action, so to speak, and have watched my partner in their establishments.  (The part of town we live in has a few neighborhood joints and I wasn't giving them up due to owner/employee ignorance or fear)
Recently, we were in a grocery store near our house, and a pre-teen child was pestering his mom to let him pet Vidar. The mom came over to ask, we declined and explained why, she said something tacky and loud because she couldn't pet the dog. Within seconds, several employees had kindly, gently intervened- physically separating us from the other customer and talking to her, explaining the law, explaining how the dog helps, etc etc. It was so heartening, since the first time we went shopping with him there, that was not the experience. They had clearly gotten themselves more informed and I sent a thank you note to the manager.
So, I think we, the community, need to keep doing the good things: being ambassadors, educate when we can, and depending on the context, helping other teams out when we see them getting stuck. I've given my email to other teams who may need some nudging, as well as this site address and others, to support them as well. We have to support and err, I think, on the side that something wasn't communicated well rather than assuming a team is poorly trained.
It's fraught though; anyone can have a bad day and mistakes are made, and there but for the grace of training go I, etc etc.
I'm glad that the article is prompting this conversation. :smile:

Offline OlgatheGSD

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Re: Man and service dog denied at North Dallas restaurant
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2017, 11:51:58 AM »
I typed out a long explanation a day or two ago and I think my phone ate it.

I'm bitter and jaded because out of the 50 or so dogs I've seen, only 4 (I saw one yesterday at the YMCA pool!! So cool!) that behaved like they had any form of training at all, even just basic leash and socialization. Most are on flexis, will lunge and bark, will pee on the floor, ride in carts and bark from them, are puppies younger than 3 months, and so on. I can't bring Olga in public where I live. I have to drive over an hour to the next town over that is safe in public.

So I project my community's problems on news articles. Some I feel are deserved, some are not. It's entirely possible the reporter wasn't accurate or thorough in their reporting and the man did indeed have a task trained dog, and you are all correct when you say it's none of our business.

I see a lot of parallels between these articles and my community. I am automatically on edge when I see someone overly emotionally attached to their service dog and when I've seen that in person, it was someone who slapped a therapy vest on their ESA/pet and demanded access while it tried to bite some kid walking by. I've never had access issues other than a business owner trying to sit me in a separate part of the restaurant so people wouldn't see my dog going under the table. I left and informed them via letter and experiences after have been emotionally uncomfortable but he followed the law after that. Access disputes around here are people getting asked to leave after their dog bit someone, and of course the owner doesn't see it that way so they tell people they have a right to be there and will make a huge fuss locally because their right to bring a dog in was violated.

I also think my area has an abnormal amount of pets in non-pet friendly areas and it's hard for me to keep in mind not every place is like this. It's not a lack of empathy. It's more of just being tired of being forced out of places with my dog because everyone else acts like an entitled jerk and for some reason can't find a decently socialized pet to bring in. It's always some kid/dog aggressive dog, usually a small breed, and an owner who describes emotional support ("She makes me feel better when I'm sad"). I get treated like dirt because of these people. I'm hurt. My quality of life is brought down because of these people. I project what I see in person and I know that's my own problem in my own head.

I'll try to be better about this in the future. I have a lot of anger built up and no where to put it. I need to be better about putting it where it is appropriate. I'll try talking to my state legislature about better business rights education so they feel less helpless. One Safeway employee thought snakes could be service animals because someone brought one in claiming it was one. There needs to be an education campaign.

In regards to this man, I'll take back, if I can, what I said about being suspicious and take issue with his response. I do think it would have been possible to contact the owner without going straight to the media and that would have been more effective. The fad of pointing fingers in the media has become popular as well and I think it's turning a lot of smaller businesses bitter because anyone with a dog looks like a lawsuit and a PR nightmare.
Potato quality human with a smarter-than-you-honor-student dog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Olga-the-GSD-1632466706793262/