Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act has raised awareness and increased the rights of individuals who receive Social Security Disability benefits, many Americans still do not understand or recognize that disabled individuals have special needs. People with disabilities may need wheelchair ramps or other accommodations. Sometimes, service dogs are needed.
Federal law permits the presence of service dogs in all establishments unless the dog is not on a leash, or not housebroken. Facility managers are required to allow service animals.
One Georgia man found out the hard way, though, that people do not always recognize diabetes as a disability. He came to this realization after he was ousted from a restaurant because he had brought in a service dog. His British Labrador is trained to sniff the man’s glucose levels and alert him before an impending seizure. This allows the man to take necessary precautions before he ends up in the emergency room.
The man has filed a suit with the Department of Justice.
The manager of the restaurant approached the man and his dog when they entered, according to official reports. She asked whether the animal was a seeing-eye dog, and then kicked the man out of the restaurant when she found out that it was not assisting a blind person. The manager then called the police on the man.
When the police arrived, the man attempted to show the officers an official card that explains his rights as a disabled American, but they refused to recognize the document.
People with disabilities, especially those receiving Social Security Disability benefits, need to be sure that they know their rights under the ADA.
Source: WSBTV, “Man says he was kicked out of restaurant over service dog,” Diana Davis, May 18, 2012.