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Oxford Diner Owner Apologizes For Refusing Veteran, Service Dog

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Big I's Diner (WBZ-TV Photo)

Big I’s Diner (WBZ-TV Photo)

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OXFORD, Mass. (CBS/AP) — A diner-owner has apologized for throwing out a military veteran because he brought in his service dog, although

Russell Ireland, owner of Big I’s in Oxford, told Air Force veteran James Glaser and his dog, Jack, to leave the diner Saturday. Ireland said at the time that he didn’t really believe Jack was a service dog because Glaser allowed people to pet and feed it, unlike the service dogs he has seen with other customers.

Ireland swore and told him to get his “fake service dog,” out of the diner, Glaser said.

Glaser, who served in Iraq, says the dog helps him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder by smelling chemicals released by the stressed body before an attack and taking action to distract the owner.

“I used to get mad, yell, break things,” Glaser said, explaining his PTSD.

Ireland says he now has a better understanding of the situation because veterans have come in or called and explained to him how an animal can help veterans cope with PTSD.

“I’m changing my mind and my stance,” he said.

The incident drew criticism on social media and harassing phone calls, Ireland said.

In the meantime, Oxford Selectman John Saad issued a statement on Wednesday that said the town is unable to take any legal action, but they have decided to refer the incident to the Attorney General.

Glaser, who suggested a boycott of the restaurant, said Tuesday he hadn’t heard from Ireland directly and still planned a rally at Big I’s on Saturday to draw attention to the issue.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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