The manager of an Illinois Houlihan’s restaurant is looking for a new job, after refusing to seat a veteran who was accompanied by his service dog.
On May 24, Garrett Loughran went to the Houlihan’s restaurant in Algonquin, Illinois, for lunch, along with his mother, and his service dog. Loughran is a veteran who has served four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. His service dog, a five-year-old labradoodle named Hershey, helps Loughran deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, and helps him remain calm in crowds.
Loughran’s mother, Laura Wills, tells WGN that when they asked for a table, the manager informed them that dogs are not allowed in the restaurant. Wills says that Hershey was wearing his red “service animal” cape, and that they had his papers with them. The manager asked what type of service Hershey provides, and Loughran informed her that she was not allowed to ask that. Loughran and Wills didn’t make a scene but simply moved on to have lunch elsewhere.
Later, Loughran’s family complained to Houlihan’s management about what happened, and they received an apology from the company. In addition, the manager was fired, and the company has donated $2,000, the cost of training one service dog, to “Pets for Vets.”
Loughran observes that he was surprised that the Houlihan’s manager wasn’t familiar with service dogs. “I expected that by this day and age everybody knows what service dogs are and they should be more accepting of veterans like me who have to have a service dog to acclimate themselves to this new world again,” he tells WGN.
While it may not have been obvious to the manager that Loughran was a veteran, she should have been familiar with service animals. She should have known that service animals are no longer just guide dogs for the blind, and she should have been aware that many people have disabilities that you cannot see. She also should have been familiar with the law regarding service animals, which specifies that service animals are allowed to go into any area where the public is normally permitted to go.
To their credit, Houlihan’s acted very quickly to make things right. But it looks like the company needs to also make sure that their managers are familiar with laws regarding service animals, so that a situation like this doesn’t happen to a veteran, or anyone else with a service dog, again.
Here’s a report, from WGN:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf-ZWTfJzhk&w=560&h=315]
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