After a woman went on a now-viral rant against a U.S. veteran for having a service dog in a restaurant, the owners of the restaurant posted a powerful positive response about why the dog was there and how they're stepping up their efforts to help America's wounded warriors.
A U.S. military veteran brought his service dog into a Delaware City, Delaware, restaurant last week, and Ciara Miller was one patron who wasn't having it. She was caught on camera screaming and swearing at the veteran and the restaurant establishment for allowing the service dog to be inside the restaurant.
The dog was wearing an official service jacket that read, "PTSD Service Dog," and bore service animal emblems of the U.S. military.
"I'm leaving because the food is nasty and there’s a dog!" Miller screamed while being filmed.
A restaurant employee can be heard in the video telling the woman that the man she was disrespecting is a veteran who "fought for our country."
"Congratulations!" Miller screams. "My husband’s dad did, too. What's your point? My husband’s dad fought for the f***ing country! So what? It's still nasty to me! I don't care!"
(Content warning: rough language):
Miller, in an interview with WTXF-TV, told the station that she was upset because the dog's rear-end was facing her while she ate. "The dog’s body was about the same height as the table," Miller explained. "Basically, the butt was sitting in front of me at the table."
She said that during the altercation, "six or seven people" shouted racial slurs at her. However, her allegations could not be substantiated because no such language was caught on the video recording.
"I don’t regret how vocal I was," Miller added. "I reacted based on the way they reacted to me."
How did the restaurant respond?
Kathy's Crab House & Family Restaurant responded to the incident in a statement shared on Facebook on Wednesday.
The statement read:
We would like to express at this time how sorry we are over the embarrassing turn of events that occurred earlier this week in our restaurant, here in Delaware City.
It is unfortunate that some of the public are not familiar with federal regulations regarding service animals, which, in fact, do permit service animals into establishments such as grocery stores, public buildings and restaurants, giving aid and comfort to their masters in their time of need.
That being said, we would like to take what may have been perceived as a negative incident and turn this into a positive opportunity, by educating and enlightening the public about the role of service animals and how they help and serve many returning veterans who have suffered serious wounds and injuries, as well as those veterans suffering from PTSD.
So, at this time, we would like to announce that we will be sponsoring a fundraising effort for veterans and service animals thru the Montana Wounded Warriors. We would like to enlist your help as a sponsor, volunteer, or as a donor and help us enlighten and educate the public as well as to help those veterans in need.
Details need to be finalized at this time, but as they come together, we will make additional announcements to keep you apprised of our progress.
What does the law say?
Delaware state's Equal Accommodations Law specifies that those with physical disabilities are permitted to bring service animals with them to all public areas.
Though PTSD isn't considered a physical disability, it is covered under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which allows those afflicted with PTSD to keep service animals.
According to the ADA:
[P]sychiatric service animals, which can help their handlers manage mental and emotional disabilities by interrupting self-harming behaviors, reminding handlers to take medication, checking spaces for intruders, or providing calming pressure during anxiety or panic attacks are permitted in restaurants under federal law.