Monday, July 18, 2016

Veteran denied service at Darby's due to service animal

I'm fascinated by service animals, to be honest. I love animals in general (I'm probably like the only vegetarian to come out of Fayette County), but service animals in particular really interest me due to the numerous ways they can be used to help people and what a benefit they are. One of the things they're great for is veterans with PTSD, like local man Eric Stump, recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star who did three tours in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, Stump was recently denied entry on a visit to Darby's because of his service dog, Dixie, who I'm sure is adorable.

I'll be honest, my initial plan for this post was to take Darby's to task for it and encourage a boycott, because not only is it super shitty to deny service animals, but it's also illegal unless the animal is causing a disturbance. But I have to give credit where credit is due--the owner handled the situation promptly and appropriately by apologizing.
"I feel bad. I don't ever want to hurt anybody's feelings, ever," [Barbara] Johnston said.
 While I'm glad the situation has been resolved, this does seem like a good case for ensuring employees--and business owners--are aware of laws regarding service animals. And remember, kids, if you're out and about and see a service animal that you just really, really want to pet because nothing's cuter than a dog in a vest, don't. It can be disrespectful, and more importantly, it can distract the animal from its job, which can be anything from assisting a blind person to providing support for people with mental illness.

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