Despite Law, Veterans With Service Dogs Still Being Denied Service
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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – 3 times in the past 3 weeks, a military veteran has been told he can’t go into a Houston-area restaurant because he has a service dog.
The dogs are trained to provide emotional support for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of their experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan.
But not everyone is aware that the strong bonds between man and dog can help relieve the stress of being in a combat zone, reports the Houston Chronicle.
That’s why last year Gov. Perry signed a law requiring people with service dogs be allowed into hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
So when managers at the Thai Spice Buffet told Aryeh Ohayon was told he couldn’t bring his dog to eat at the Thai Spice Buffet, he counted on the police to set them straight on the law.
Ohayon, who had served with special forces in Afghanistan, needs his dog, Bandit, to cope with PTSD
He was allowed service while waiting for an officer to arrive.
But the policeman was ignorant of the law, which went into effect Jan. 1st.
“The officer said to me, you’re not blind, you don’t need a dog,” Ohayon told the paper. “It’s frustrating and a let down. We put our lives on the line, we want to be treated like normal people.”
Earlir this month, Yancy Baer and his dog Verbena were denied entry into a Starbucks, an incident he described as the “most humiliating of my life.” The coffee chain later apologized.
And before that, veteran Don Brown and his dog Truman were asked to leave a sports bar.
Houston police tell the Chronicle no criminal charges have been brought against any of the establishments. The cases are being resolved through civil courts.
“No ticket was issued and it should have been issued,” said Bart Sherwood. He’s with Train a Dog, Save a Warrior, an organization that matches trained service dogs with veterans suffering PTSD.
“Is there not a police chief down there that knows the law of the state of Texas?” he asked. “It stinks that (Thai Spice) didn’t let him in. The police didn’t back him up and that stinks even more.”
Cynthia Meyer, a spokeswoman for Gov. Perry confirmed to the Chronicle that he strongly supports the bill, which was signed in June.
“For veterans suffering from PTSD, a service animal can be a strong part of their recovery,” said Perry at the time of signing. “This bill is a smart way for us to give back and help any Texan, including our veterans, lead a healthy, productive life.”
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