James Glasser, a war veteran from Oxford, Mass., served his country with distinction in Iraq, but now a local restaurant won’t serve him — at least not as long as he brings along his certified canine, provided by the military to help him cope with battle-induced post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Blaze reports that Glasser and his three-year-old Jack Russell Terrier received less than a hero’s welcome from Russel Ireland, who owns the diner, called Big I’s.
In an interview with TV station NECN, Glasser states: “My feet just got into the restaurant and I ‘hear get that f**king fake service dog out of my restaurant.’”
After being turned away, the veteran phoned the police who subsequently told Ireland that Glasser has a right to be inside the restaurant with the dog, which provides assistance for a medical issue.
Ireland maintains that he didn’t believe the dog was a genuine service dog initially and now believes he overreacted:
I didn’t say anything last time he was in, so it was partially my fault. I admit this, I overreacted, granted, I’m only human.
Ireland say it felt it was unsanitary for Jack to be brought in without a harness or muzzle, though Glasser claims the dog had a leash. By Ireland’s account, the dog ate from Glasser’s plate as well — something that the owner felt was unclean.
Glasser plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice over the incident. The case is not without precedent. In 2011, an Iraq war vet sued a McDonald’s for ejecting him because he had a service dog in tow.