In April 2022 I and my partner met with a friend of ours for lunch at a restaurant in Wildomar. I was able to walk that day and had my service dog Storm with me. He was wearing his service dog vest with a guide handle for me. It is a good example of the service dog access issues disabled people face far too often. Restaurants can surely do better than this.
When we were seated the hostess told us that they don’t allow dogs in the restaurant. My partner told her Storm is a service dog. She replied: “Service dogs are required to wear a vest.” My partner said: “No they are not, but he is actually wearing one.” She then replied: “The vest must have written ‘service dog’ on it.” To which my partner responded: “No, they don’t, but his vest actually says ‘service dog’ and we are done now. Send your manager if you would like to have a further discussion.”
A Comedy Show At A Restaurant
This conversation would have actually been comical if it wasn’t so serious. My partner can just put them straight. Confrontation is not a problem for him and he has no problem standing up for me and my service dog. But, if I would have been by myself, this interaction could have triggered an anxiety or panic attack while at a restaurant. All because the restaurant staff was poorly trained on the ADA. We could have reported them. They would have received a warning or a small fine. We didn’t but we could have. Businesses must understand that they can get into a lot of trouble by not following the ADA laws.
The ADA Regulations for Service Dogs are very clear on this. Service dogs are not required to wear a vest or special identifiers of any kind.