James Glasser, an Iraq war veteran from Oxford, Mass., is claiming that he feels “belittled” after he and his dog — a certified canine that helps him battle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — were not allowed inside a local restaurant.
Russel Ireland is the man who owns the diner in question, called Big I’s. The veteran claims that Ireland publicly embarrassed him and subsequently turned him away from the establishment, citing his dog, Jack, as the reason for the banishment.
The three-year-old Jack Russell Terrier is trained to help Glasser through the night terrors and nightmares he experiences as a result of his military service. But when the veteran recently turned up at Big I’s with his dog and wife, he was in for a surprise.
“My feet just got into the restaurant and I ‘hear get that f**king fake service dog out of my restaurant,'” the veteran told NECN-TV. “I’ve never felt so belittled in his life.”
Ireland apparently felt that it was unsanitary for Jack to be brought in without a harness or muzzle (although 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 especially unclean.
After being turned away, the veteran called the police who subsequently told Ireland that Glasser has a right to be inside the restaurant with the dog, especially because the canine is assisting the man with a medical issue.
In interviews with the media, Ireland said that, at first, he did not believe that the dog was being used to assist the man with a medical problem and he recognized that he overreacted, telling NECN-TV that he wishes he would have handled the situation better.
“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 said, despite defending his decision not to want the dog and his master at the restaurant.
Glasser plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice over the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Featured image credit: NECN-TV.