Women Accuse Buffet Of Turning Them And Service Dogs Away
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 12, 2004
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA--Four women who use service dogs claim that a Jacksonville restaurant broke the law recently by not allowing them near the buffet line, WJXT-TV reported Friday.
The women accused workers at the East Buffet of telling them they could not come into the restaurant because of their dogs.
Restaurants are required to allow service dogs under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
"We were forced to leave," explained Rockey Hackler, whose daughter, Renee, uses a service dog to help her walk. "I was so shocked. I didn't know what to do at first."
After the women called police, they were allowed to enter the restaurant. When they tried to go to the buffet line, however, restaurant staff told them they were not allowed because of safety concerns, the women claim.
"Unlike some of them, Renee cannot walk up to that counter without her dog, so the dog has to go with her," she said. "She cannot be deprived of that little piece of her independence."
An East Buffet representative said the allegations are not true, that the workers are innocent of the allegations.
"Commonly asked questions about service animals in places of business" (U.S. Department of Justice)