Saturday, May 31, 2008

Guide dog and owner face discrimination

Steven Jacquez and guide dog, Ivanna

Steven Jacquez and his guide dog Ivanna were refused service at a Vallejo, Calif., restaurant May 25, which is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Apparently unaware of ADA protections, the owner of Momo's American Cuisine told Jacquez and Ivanna, a yellow Labrador Retriever, to leave, citing potential health code violations.

As the Vallejo Times-Herald correctly reported, "refusing to serve a blind person accompanied by a guide or service dog is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Federal law allows people with disabilities to bring service animals into customer areas, and requires that they receive equal service."

Jacquez, who is legally blind, said he showed a waitress his laminated, pocket-size version of the ADA, but was asked to leave. The owner told him, "No Dogs. Get out."

The police were called and the restaurant owner received a lecture about the ADA.

Although this is a small story in one town in America, I applaud the local newspaper for covering it. The more the issue is covered, the more business owners will know that guide dogs must be allowed admittance.