DEDHAM (CBS) – All they were hoping for was a dinner out with friends. But instead, a group of disabled people were shocked and frustrated when a local restaurant turned them away.

Miriam Cooper is legally blind, but clearly sees the wrong in what happened to her and her service dog “Diamond.”

“Ignorance of the law: it’s an explanation, but it’s not an excuse,” said Cooper.

Cooper was with 12 other folks at the Bamboo Gourmet Restaurant in Dedham Sunday night with six service dogs. The restaurant had admitted service dogs before, just never so many at once, and a manager voiced concern about dog mayhem at the buffet and customer allergies, even suggesting the dogs wait outside.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports.

“It was just very disappointing and very disillusioning,” said Cooper.

Because federal and state law require restaurants “to permit the entry and use of service animals by disabled individuals,” Dedham police were summoned, but apparently didn’t clarify much.

“It just seemed alternately that they weren’t interested, didn’t know, didn’t care,” said Cooper.

Police said no officials could discuss the matter with WBZ-TV on Monday night.

According to guidelines in other departments, officers should have informed Bamboo Gourmet Restaurant that unless they could show the dogs’ “behavior posed a direct threat” or would cause an “undue burden,” they were in violation of the law.

“They’re supposed to help us secure our rights,” said Cooper.

Police cannot force the restaurant to seat the wannabee diners and their service dogs. But, on the other hand, they should inform the owner that a criminal complaint might be sought against them.

Cooper hopes the incident educates.

“And in the end, we’d like to have a nice, Asian dinner,” said Cooper.

An assistant manager at Bamboo admitted to WBZ-TV off camera that his restaurant had made mistakes in handling the incident. He said tempers on both sides made the situation worse, but assured us that if those patrons and dogs return, they are welcome.

The group of friends ate a late dinner somewhere else Sunday night with their dogs.

Ken MacLeod

Comments (140)
  1. Liza says:

    Bamboo shouldn’t just offer to allow them back in, they should be begging them to return and granting every of the 13 people a free meal.

    1. Greg says:

      This restaurant has allowed service animals in the past. If this group had ANY sense of responsibility they would have notified the restaurant prior that there would be 6 service animals, that way the restaurant would have had time to provide for that, but instead they just expect everyone to bend over backwards… I thank the Lord that I don’t have the challenges these people face every day, but I also hope that if I was in there position I would have more pride than to force everyone else to cater to me….

      1. tikva says:

        Honest question here: How would the restaurant have had to provide for us differently? I go out to eat all the time. My dog lies under the table quietly. As I said below, when we did finally eat somewhere, the waiter could barely tell there was one dog, much less six. When I visit a buffet, my dog leads me to the buffet and stands or sits (sometimes I do have her sit) calmly at my side, nowhere near the food, as I serve myself. She is two feet tall at the shoulder. She cannot possibly get near the food, and in any case, she is trained not to do so. We had already requested space for 13 people, and all of the dogs would have gone under the table(s). Large groups are not generally seated near zillions of people if there is sufficient room to give them a bit of space (the place was virtually empty when we got there). So other than seating us and taking our order, just like they do with everyone else, what would they have had to change? The dogs behaved perfectly the whole time, by the way, despite the rising anxiety (and hunger!) of their handlers.

        Incidentally, it turns out the restaurant had a copy of the law, which they showed us – they just hadn’t read it. They thought it said we had to provide ID and do various other things. It didn’t.

        I am getting the impression that most of the people arguingi n favor of the restaurant haven’t actually interacted with a lot of service dog teams. It can be quite eye-opening, as it were.

      2. fred says:

        Greg, why should they need to call ahead? A restaurant can’t handle 12 people with well-trained service dogs? If my friends and I show up (7 of us?) is that too many to not call ahead? What abvout 9 people, with 1 in a wheelchair, and one with a walker? They have rights to go out to eat. There is no excuse to make their lives harder than it miay already be.

        A criminal charge needs to be forthcoming. Period. I can’t belive in this stage of an econony recovery, a restaurant would turn away a large party of diners.

        Hopefully, good people who are compassionate and have common decency will choose not to patronize this place in the future. My opinions only.

      3. Lawrence says:

        Did you ever think maybe it was not planned. Customers should not have to call ahead unless it is in policy of restaurant. Hope you never become disabled and turn away.

      4. Judy says:

        you are an idiot

      5. Heather Jones says:

        Doesn’t matter if the group had 60 service animals, the restaurant is legally required to seat them. It is the restaurant’s job to make sure it is in compliance with the law, not the disabled people’s. It is not expecting anyone to ‘bend over backward’ to expect restaurants to follow the law and treat you like every other customer.

      6. Chris Cooper says:

        What happens if six different patrons show up at the same time not knowing the others are showing up? Bad example there Greg.

      7. CL Jahn says:

        The point of the law regarding service animals is to restore rights to disabled individuals. Able-bodied people don’t have to make special arrangements to be seated, why should a blind person be burdened with extra effort beyond that of her daily life?
        It’s not about being “catered to.” It’s about having the same access as everyone else.
        Next time you go to the mall, rent a wheelchair and do all your shopping that way – it will open your eyes to the problem of basic access.

      8. Francine says:

        Wow, talk about blaming the victim. Besides, service dogs are generally much better behaved than children. How about next time you bring your kids with you you call ahead to warn the restauant.

      9. IAmAPrisoner says:

        Greg, YOU are barred from my restaurant.

    2. Anthony says:

      Please , I have sympathy for the disabled , but six dogs coming into a resturaunt that I was in would make me get up and leave .I think a more reasonable solution could have been arrived at . If there were twelve people and only 6 of them were disabled , why couldn’t the other 6 help them get around ? We need to be polite , but so did they . Most people do not want to eat in a kennel , and I don’t blame the manager for turning them away. If I lived anywhere near this resturaunt I would go there often to show my support of common sense .

      1. fred says:

        Yes, Anthony go eat there…The heck with disable people. Blind people should not go out to eat with their friends. A law that you should try to get passed would be: No more than 2 people with service dogs can eat at a restuarant at the same time.

        This attitude you have is THE reason why laws like this need to be in place and criminal charges must be brought…I hope this group of diners push the police to prosecute, if they don’t it will be a wasted opportunity to get laws enforced.

        Anthony, you can easily go to another restuarant, bust people with disabilities have a harder time. So grow a more tolerant attitude. The fact that the restuarant admitted they were wrong, shows they were wrong.

      2. Alecta says:

        Anthony: Wow are you ignorant. I hope that you never learn how much.

      3. joan says:

        are you an idiot? are you MENTALLY disabled?? service dogs aren’t like your average housepets. they have several thousands of dollars’ worth of training so that they can ASSIST disabled people. their friends cannot assist them in the same way their dogs are trained to. frankly, you’re such a disgusting individual that i wouldn’t want to dine in the same restaurant with YOU.

      4. Wilhelmina says:

        I will take six dogs over six children any day of the week.

      5. toni says:

        Are you out of your mind ??? They are human beings and deserved to be treated as such. Blind people, are no different that anyone else. The have gone to school to learn how to be self supportive, hence the dogs- you idiot !!! Those dogs behave much better than some children in restaraunts -so would you ask those people to leave? I’d rather have dinner with 6 service dogs than1 unruly child.
        Read up on the ADASDF (Active Dogs Academy Service Dog Foundation), these people provide service dogs for all our Veterans- America’s “Wounded Warroirs” how do you know they weren’t part of that group? Yes you can serve our country but your service dog needs to go…
        The stupidity of some people amazes me, regardless of these peoples occupations monron- read up on people with diabillities act- IT IS AGAINST THE LAW- A CRIME !!!!

      6. Heather says:

        You are such an idiot. In a large restaurant, 6 dogs will have no more effect than 1. Yes, in a cafe with 2 tables, on a rainy day with soaked dogs and humans, it could be a bit unpleasant, but responsible guide dog handlers would never expect such a thing. So, why don’t people in wheelchairs just get carried places by their able-bodied counterparts? Duh, because dignity and respect is a right. I hope that some day you go blind and no guide dog school will give you a dog, or that you get paralized in an accident and your family insists on speaking for you, pushing your chair and steering you, insisting that you don’t need a motorized chair because it’s bigger and gets in the way, and you don’t need to direct your self because they can push you. I hope you become deaf and your family insists that you don’t need a hearing aid because you can just write back and forth with them. You really are quite stupid and ignorant, and yes those are two different things. Get a life and try not to walk around with your foot in your mouth, that’s not a disability.

      7. Caralyn says:

        Anthony I’m sorry to say I have a ssd due to mobility….w/ my health issues I’m in pain everyday. I wouldn’t wish any of this on my worse enemy, but You just showed me just maybe I should. What do you do if there are 6 children who are out of control? Kicking the back of your booth or staring at you while you are eating. And the parents think they’re so cute and just smile and laugh. While the 6 Service Dogs are quietly under the table even w/ the children running around like they are at the playground. I would choose a ssd over any misbehaved child. I can say this b/c I have 2 boys and they new the difference between a playground, a store, and how to act in each situation. So b4 you judge know what you are talking about.

    3. Jb Dean says:

      Exactly! How absurd of Greg to think these people are expecting someone to “cater to them.” What ignorance and gaul!! All these people were expecting was the law to be followed. Nowhere in the service animal law does it state how many animals and owners may be present at any given time. The manager was ignorant and just plane stupid to turn them away or ask that their assistance animals wait outside. I think they should sue … that would get the message across loud and clear.

    4. AO says:

      you are correct, as far as i know service animals are well traind and will listen to what their master tells them, i really dont think there would have been an incident with this.

    5. AO says:

      um you need to re read this, these are service dogs that help people with disabilities

    6. Cynthia Levine says:

      The people that were turned away did have a reservation. The idea that there was a van to put the dogs in shows how people lack information. The individuals came from different places using their dogs to get there. These are well trained dogs who would not lick themselves or beg for food. They would stay under the table quietly. Two items you said indicate you are a segregationist. First that people should put the dog in the van there by thinking that people with disabilities obviously belong together. And secondly that the individuals with disabilities should come early or late for dinner. You wouldn’t say that about African American or people of different faiths. People with disabilities are the last bastion of the civil right movement. I’m sure you will find a flaw with that. The law was violated by Bamboo and the police. Its as simple as that.. CLevine

  2. SMCR says:

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more press coverage of this issue–outside of Twitterdom, of course. The restaurant behaved badly and broke the law. Bamboo should bear the consequences of their actions. And people should eat at Buca di Beppo instead (the place that eventually accommodated the party and their dogs and even had Braille menus!) But the behavior of the Dedham police officer is beyond the pale. Unprofessional, ignorant and condescending. He was put off that the blind people actually knew their rights and were advocatng for fair treatment under the ADA. We really don’t need police officers like that. Serious disciplinary action called for here–more than a verbal reprimand.

    1. tikva says:

      There are lots of blind people on the Internet. There is plenty of assistive technology out there that reads what’s on the screen or enlarges it. I use said technology.

      Although only five of us are blind; one is deaf, in case anyone was wondering.

    2. Jimi says:

      There’s a lot of ignorance in these comments, but “COMEonNOW” deserves a blue ribbon for that one.

    3. Leo says:

      Wow, you’re painfully ignorant. I have a friend who is totally blind and uses a screen-reading program to use her computer. She’s an active blogger, and extremely intelligent. She never SEES the screen, but her screen reader program lets her access everything that you and I can see.

      Braille keyboards exist. Voice technology exists. For all you know, Tikva could be a highly successful businessperson, a full-time employee, or even a journalist. Many (most!) disabled people are productive members of society. They’re even… !!! … on the internet!

      Pull your head out of your fourth point of contact and join modern society.

  3. emom says:

    another asian resturant turning folks away. what do they have against dissabled folks.. thats another resturant I will not visit. Yeah put them on notice. and they truely need to appoligize to everyone. thats Just so not right.

    1. Seriously? says:

      What about people who are deathly allergic to dogs or any animal for that matter? Where are their rights? 6 dogs in a restaurant? So are you telling me service dogs don’t shed? Don’t drool? Give me a break. Maybe it was callous of them to show up with SIX dogs to a restaurant. Use common sense whether you are disabled or not.

      1. SMCR says:

        Anyone who is so deathly allergic that they would be significantly impacted by a dog many feet away should wrap themselves in bubblewrap and never leave their own house. And they didn’t show up with “SIX” dogs–each person who needed a service animal had one dog each. Are you suggestiing that blind people have no right to association with each other?

      2. n.k. says:

        Please research dog allergies before making claims like these. People who are allergic to dogs are allergic to the dander that saturates the air after many hours or a few days of persistent canine presence. Dog owners collect dog dander on their clothing. If proximity to the dander was the problem, over the short term, dog dander allergy sufferers would have as much of a problem with dog owners as with the dogs themselves.

        Playing the “what if?” game with allergies is a slippery slope in any case. What if someone has a peanut allergy? Should peanuts be barred from restaurants because a waiter could serve someone the wrong dish by accident, or cross contaminate food, or trip and slip a peanut-laden dish all over an allergy sufferer? Should you worry about someone eating a dish with peanuts suddenly spitting in your food?

        The presence of peanuts at the restaurant does not mean that someone with peanut allergies will suffer an attack or die. The presence of service dogs at the restaurant does not mean that someone with a dog dander allergy will suffer an attack or die.

      3. Fred says:

        LOLOL, yeah… ok… good one… nice red herring.
        Oh yeah, people are allergic to perfume…so I guess I better not wear deodorant when I go out to eat. I’m sure people would appreciate my natural scent over allergies.

      4. emom says:

        GOD FORBID you were disabled and WISHED to go out to a resturant with friends, OH BUT WAIT you couldn;t go cause there was already one dissabled person with a dog… GET your facts straight,, thats discrimination on a HUGE LEVEL. THEY HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS ANYONE AND besides, they groom those dogs, they are clean and do not bother anyone… try hanging around them you will see the truth. By the way allergy meds are widely available… it does help…..

      5. joan says:

        “deathly allergic” people aren’t protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act. cry me a river, they can leave. their rights do not trump those of disabled Americans who NEED assistance animals in order to navigate the able-bodied world.

      6. JMS says:

        I actually am seriously allergic to dogs (and most other animals). I would NEVER complain about people bringing service dogs to a restaurant. Please don’t use my health issues as a stick to beat other people with; that’s not cool.

        It is not at all “callous” of six people who use service dogs to want to get together in a public space.

      7. Heather says:

        Sorry, but deathly allergies are not a disability, blindness, deafness, paraplegia, etc are disabilities, allergies are not. If someone is so allergic that they will have a deadly reaction rather than some sniffles treated with Zertec, then even sitting next to someone with a pet dog at home could pose a life threatening risk, so they would be carrying a rescue enhailer, and they would be effected by just one service dog, the number is not the issue. Even sitting next to a few people at the next table who have dogs at home, not with them, would set them off. Allergies never have been, and never will be an acceptable reason to bar a service dog. And, excuse me, but I deal with more difficulties and logistical problems in one day then the allergy sufferer is going to face in a year, so try to think before you speak. Living one’s life, and going to dinner for God’s sake is not callous, I have rights, and you apparently, have no tact and very few brain cells.

  4. herb says:

    Bamboo needs to have their licence to operate removed and be fined big time ..what a pack of idiots !

  5. Captain Watertower says:

    So much venom! Usually, there is more than one perspective. Although I am certain that the restaurant could have handled this in a much better way, I am sure that they were shocked to see 6 dogs entering, almost certainly a first occurrence. They were understandably concerned with how this would affect all of their other clientele.

    This reminds me of the girl with Tourette Syndrome that insisted that a theater allow her to disrupt a movie for hundreds of other patrons. People with disabilities have all of the rights of others and should be accommodated in a reasonable way, but not if it adversely affects everyone else. They have rights, but those should not supersede the rights of others.

    Again, the establishment here could have handled this without issue, but it was a new and unexpected situation. No need to paint them as evil insensitive people. Not everything is black and white.

    1. petem says:

      What evidence do you have that the service dogs in this situation caused or may have caused an undue burden or worse posed a direct threat? The example you provided is not even in the same universe as the case. the dogs involved are highly trained and are able to control themselves unlike a person with Tourettes.
      What I think we are see here is an establishment that felt they might be inconvienienced by this group and decided that they didn’t care that there are laws that protect the rights of people for whom most days and tasks and activities carry more inconvienence than most of us could bear.

      1. Seriously? says:

        Pete, what about people in the establishment who could have been allergic?

      2. Lolwhat says:

        Sucks for the disabled people, but that many dogs is just not clean enough for a restaurant environment. What would a health inspector say?

        If you want to be treated equally despite your disability, it means that sometimes you have to deal with the negative aspects of equality also. Most of my friends and I dislike it when such a large party of people only is seated next to us, how much of a distraction would such a large party as well as a pack of dogs been?

        Who has ever gone to a restaurant and seen 2 service dogs at the same table, let alone 6? Do you really think someone is just going to sit by and think that everything is sunshine and rainbows because you’re disabled? No.

        And of course you probably aren’t going to go back despite their offer, but that’s fine, because you’re not the kind of customers businesses want anyway. All you do is complain (since you’ve been there before alone with your dog and it wasn’t an issue, so it’s obviously not discrimination) and demand that every other customer just sacrifices a nice clean buffet line for dog hair and tears mixed in with their meal.

        People who think this way aren’t ignorant. If you think people don’t think that then it’s you who is ignorant. If you want to be treated just like everyone else, expect to be treated like garbage when you disregard everyone else’s feelings just so you and your friends can show off about how special you are for eating at a buffet.

      3. Bridget says:

        Lolwhat, Seriously, you guys should read up on service dogs. They aren’t your typical pets. It’s not like they’re going to be running around the restaurant unchecked, barking, getting into the food, etc. Service dogs are always highly trained, and are always well groomed. Some service dogs are so well trained, you could drop a piece of food right in front of their nose and they would just ignore it. They would not be around the other diners; most people will have their dogs lie down quietly under tables or chairs. Usually, you wouldn’t even know they were there unless you looked. At the buffet, I highly doubt that the handlers would’ve let their dogs near enough to the food to contaminate it. After all, they’re eating too, and I don’t think they enjoy dog hair in their dinner any more than you or I would.

        Pete is right. The restaurant had no solid ground to refuse service to these people. The dogs posed no danger or distraction to the other patrons at all.

    2. Seriously? says:

      I absolutely agree with you , Captain. At least you have the nerve to SAY it!

    3. The Right Answer says:

      Right on!

    4. GhettoNinja says:

      Very well said Captain.

      A phone call ahead of time would have done wonders probably. You can’t expect to take six service animals into a restaurant and not have issues with the surprise visit.

      Again, well said captain.

    5. Heather says:

      Ok, so I’ll cut you some slack because obviously you don’t know anything about service dogs. I have seen 18, yes, 18, 3 times this number of guide dogs all snugged under tables at a resteraunt in NYC, all but a few not even visible unless you knew they were there and were looking for them. Many people were astounded to see almost 20 dogs exit, that they were never even aware of. A girl yelling at a movie is not the same thing as 6 dogs under tables sleeping and minding their own business. If this was a tiny cafe with just a few tables and the dogs were all wet from being in the rain, then yeah, you’d have a point, but had that been the case, the handlers would have been more reasonable then the girl with tarets syndrom, and would have picked a different, larger place, or would have dried their dogs, or would have split up, etc. Please, try and readjust your perspective with this new information.

  6. kwanda says:

    any place of business that doesn’t allow service dogs should be boycotted!!!

  7. JsnJust says:

    I live in Ohio. One of them is my best friend. We’ve begun an email campaign and the response is overwhelming. Good luck with your business, NOT!

    1. SMCR says:

      @JsnJust, please post the campaign information here when you can so that those of us with an appreciation for the ADA can join with our support of the group.

  8. Seriously? says:

    Since when does having any sort of disability give you a “get out of common sense” card? Maybe THEY should have had consideration for the other patrons of the restaurant and NOT dragged SIX dogs to a place where people are going to eat. Alot of you are thinking the same thing, but feel it’s not “pc” to speak against anything that anyone with a disability does. Common sense, people. Everyone should have it, disabled or not.

    1. petem says:

      Seriously? – I want to reply both your post here and the reply to my earlier one.
      Your concern about the allergies of others in the restaurant is a valid one, but does the allergy of another patron invalidate the right of a group, or even another patron? Doesn’t it follow that a person with an allergy to dogs needs to self select the places he or she goes, so who should go elsewhere to eat? If there had been an allergic person then the restaurant could have (if they’d known) told the group that this was the case. It seems that the restaurant instead took the position that if someone was allergic, etc… If the group should use common sense, shouldn’t the others as well?
      And really; dragging six dogs in there? Are you actually indicating that the dogs aren’t necessary? Is the new perspective of the anti-PC that all these disabled people are whiny and over-doing their disabilities? You can’t really be THAT callous…

      1. COMEonNOW says:

        I am saying that at least one of the six was unnecessary .
        tikna is here TYPEING about WATCHING her dog prance around like a model .
        I may be callous in your eyes , or maybe I’m not “smart” enough to see the nuance , but obviously she/he could have entered the restaurant without his/her dog .
        And not that I am saying it is the case here , but there are people that have “disabilities” that most people wouldn’t consider the equivalent of blindness that have gotten permission to call their regular pets service dogs .

      2. Jimi says:

        @COMEonNOW: yeah – it’s definitely the “not smart enough” thing.
        As I said earlier, there’s a lot of ignorance here and yet you manage to be the most ignorant of the bunch. You should be proud, I guess.

      3. michele says:


        How short sighted of you to assume her disability is A) blindness or B) that her typing online isn’t involving assistive software.


        Not only have I seen 2 service dog in an establishment before, I have sat them myself, during a busy dinner service, at a table… TOGETHER. GASP.

        to everyone re allergies:

        I am allergic to gluten… but your having bread or pasta 2 feet away isn’t the same as my rolling around on the floor with a big plate of flour. People so allergic that they cant be less than 50 feet from a dog, probably don’t leave their house much because the risk is to high that they may stand next to a dog owner, such as myself, who may/may not have dog hair/dander on their shirt/dress/etc.

        What would everyone say if 6 kids were denied entry after a ball game? Kids are far more desruptive than WORKING dogs.

      4. Bridget says:

        COMEonNOW, that’s a pretty ignorant comment. Is there only one kind of disability? No. And just as there are many kinds of disabilities, there are many kinds of service dogs. Mobility dogs, hearing dogs, and seizure alert dogs, just for a few more examples.

    2. mike says:

      yes reason goes out the window when people are “wronged”

  9. Common Sense says:

    PRIVATE organization should have the right to serve who they want to. PERIOD!

    1. Common Sense Isn't Common. says:

      Not when their discriminatory practices are illegal. A restaurant isn’t allowed to turn away people on basis of race, are they?

      1. Seriously? says:

        You’re playing the “race card”? What does that have to do with a group of people wanting to bring 6 dogs into a restaurant where people are eating? Give me a break.

      2. Yeah, seriously. says:

        My point is by LAW, restaurants aren’t allowed to turn away people because they have a protected characteristic that the restaurant doesn’t like. What I’m reading here is that you think restaurants should get to break the law just because some other patron might not have their Benadryl on them. What, should blind people just not ever go out to dinner with each other? Service dogs are allowed, by law, in LOTS of places that animals aren’t allowed to go. Should blind people not take Amtrak because someone in their car might have an allergy? I call bull.

    2. Terry J says:

      So if I open a restaurant and decide to not serve non-White people, that’s OK in your books?

    3. another Chris says:

      If it was a private organization then the group would have had to be members to get in but as such it is a public restaurant, they could only refuse to serve who they wanted if they were on an Indian reservation…..common sense isn’t very common is it?

    4. zoiboi says:

      The restaurant doesn’t meet the legal definition of a “Private Organization” because they are open to the public. To be considered “Private” they waould have to be membership only and require joining the group prior to gaining admittance.

      If they were actually private they would be able to exclude anyone they wish. If they are open to the public they cannot selectively serve who they wish.

  10. Harmless says:

    Some people seem to be saying either (a) blind people should not be friends with other blind people, or (b) when blind people go out in a group, they should share their service dogs.

    I don’t think it would be right to say that blind people can’t go out with other blind people. That seems like a very natural thing to me.

    I’m not sure how a group of people would go about deciding who gets to bring a service dog and who has to do without one. I’m not sure how people go about sharing service dogs, or what the people who are stuck without their dogs are supposed to do about getting home, if they’re used to having the dog help navigate.

    Maybe we could just follow the law, and trust the blind people to have their dogs reasonably well trained?

  11. D Caf says:

    Very poor taste, Bamboo. Asian businesses are really f’ckn with good customers lately. Are the people from Cathay Pacific working there, too?

  12. Understanding says:

    Often common sense is wrong, or skewed by misconceptions.

    I know these people, they went to another restaurant to eat afterward.

    The server at that restaurant commented that didn’t even know that there were any dogs in the place at all.

    Service animals are trained that well.

    If the animals were barking, or causing a nuisance – they can be ejected.
    (the Tourettes example above, for example, the movie theater can kick the person out)

    As for allergies, one of these people with the group has pretty bad animal allergies. Simply being in the same room isn’t enough to trigger a common allergy.

    If someone did have that severe an allergy, then it would likely be triggered by pet dander on peoples clothes. You propose no pet owners allowed in restaurant.

    As for the dogs. They are on the floor, and cause no more mess than anyone else’s feet do.

    People tend to lump service animals into the same category as pet dogs, they aren’t in the same world.

    Children are more likely to cause mayhem, make mess, and play in the buffet bar food, than these dogs are.

    1. Greg says:

      Apparently your understanding of allergies in not very good. I am very allergic to cats and I can tell within usually a matter of minutes if there is a cat in the same room as me, My nose starts filling up and I start wheezing from my asthma. I would imagine a person allergict to dogs can have much the same effect, how about understanding that??

      1. Alleyne says:

        The trouble is, the allergies issue in this case is not germane. The restaurant was not trying to accommodate a patron with allergies. No one can say with certainty that anyone with allergies was even in the restaurant.

        But we can say with certainty that the restaurant violated both Federal and Massachusetts law with regard to these service animals.

      2. JMS says:

        I am severely allergic to dogs, and I would never claim that my health issues trump the rights of people with disabilities who use service animals to have access to public facilities. Can people stop trying to use this as a stalking-horse, please? I know a lot of other people who have severe, life-limiting allergies (you get to chatting in treatment spaces!) and have never heard anyone complain about other people’s service animals.

    2. Dawn says:

      You are incorrect concerning dog allergies. All of those dogs WOULD trigger an allergic reaction in people who are severely allergic to dogs. Those same people would not react to dog dander on people’s clothes.

      I don’t lump service dogs into the same category as pets in their function, but when it comes to allergies: dogs are dogs.

      People should be considerate and use common sense. Bringing six dogs into a restaurant without discussion with the restaurant owner in advance, was unfair to the restaurant owner and to the patrons of the restaurant. As it is summer, patio dining might have been a possibility for the group. This likely would have worked for all concerned.

      1. JMS says:

        Are you yourself severely allergic to dogs? If not, please don’t use my health issues as a way to berate people with disabilities who use service animals. People with severe allergies can speak for ourselves, thanks.

        If you are someone who experiences these issues yourself, I guess we will have to agree to disagree; and you will be literally the first person I have ever met who shares my life-limiting issues with allergies who feels their needs trump the access of people who use service animals. But of course no group is a monolith.

      2. JMS says:

        I see below that you state that you are yourself severely allergic to dogs. Well, there you are—I have finally met someone else living with severe allergies and sensitivities who disagrees with me on this topic. I guess it had to happen sometime, but this is literally the very first time I have encountered your point of view.

  13. Customer says:

    I was at the restaurant when the 13 of them arrived. Why couldn’t the 7-8 other non blind people act as the service dogs would. They called and made a reservation and never mentioned the (7) dogs. They were incredibly rude to the employees. While the owner was trying to work it out they asked them to step aside because they were blocking the doorway and they wouldn’t!. On Sunday’s this resturant has a buffet menu so it is not like the dogs would be sitting at the tables. Who wins out the board of health or the handicap review board?

    1. Seriously? says:

      Apparently rules don’t apply to people with disabilities. How rude to expect the restaurant to cater to you and your (according to you) 7 dogs!??! Everyone knows service dogs aren’t like “pet” dogs, but they are STILL dogs! To the post ” Children are more likely to cause mayhem, make mess, and play in the buffet bar food, than these dogs are.” Are you serious? When was the last time you smelled a child that smells like a wet/dirty dog? When was the last time your child shed all over you? Just admit that it was wrong for them to show up with 7 dogs and expect to be catered to. I find it amazing that they mentioned in their phone call to the establishment that they were disabled, but yet failed to mention the herd of dogs. Also, why mention they were disabled at all? Did they EXPECT better treatment ? I find that whole thing very odd. Sense of entitlement much?

      1. n.k. says:

        “Apparently rules don’t apply to people with disabilities” – and what, the *laws* don’t apply to people without disabilities? Have you even read the ADA? It is a federal law that directly relates to this situation. It is, in other words, “The Rules” that you are speaking of.

        They did not inform the restaurant they were disabled. Please do not post falsehoods in such a venomous and hostile manner and then project sinister intent into them, it does not become you.

        For that matter, have you ever known a service dog? You seem to think they behave like pet dogs do, which is very far from the truth. I have known one of the six service dogs mentioned for years and she is extremely well trained and well behaved. She causes no commotion at all and does not “shed all over” people. She, like all service dogs, is trained to keep to herself when working. While on duty, she stays put unless her handler is walking from one place to another, she would never touch another human, and stays well clear of food.

        We are all well aware that you are privileged not to need a service dog to navigate a crowded room. I’m sure you are also privileged enough to never need to interact with those who do. I’m aware that you sympathize far more with the other non-disabled people in the situation, and that you cannot imagine what it would be like to need a service animal. You know people with dog allergies. You know people who eat in restaurants. It’s easier to attack the ‘other’ in the situation, isn’t it, and assume that if there was a problem, they must have ‘asked for it?’

        You are welcome to delude yourself as much as you want and skew the facts to support your biased view. You can say that those arguing against you are just as biased, but all we’re asking is that a United States Federal law be upheld. No “special treatment.” No “better treatment.” No “entitlement.” Just what the laws of our country state.

    2. Heather Jones says:

      Maybe because the other 7 or 8 people aren’t dogs? Maybe those people weren’t going home with the disabled people, or some of them were going separate ways after dinner? Maybe the other people hadn’t all picked up the disabled people from their homes before dinner, and the disabled folks had needed their dogs to get to the restaurant? Maybe it’s hard to step out of the way when you’re blind and don’t exactly know where ‘in the way’ is?

      The board of health says service dogs are allowed at restaurants, as per the LAW which the restaurant was refusing to follow.

    3. Bridget says:

      Do you know for a fact that all of these dogs were simply guide dogs? Do you know for a fact that none of these dogs did a job a human could not do, such as seizure alert? In any case, the ADA is a federal law, and restaurants are required to abide to it unless the dog is proven to be a hazard/distraction. And it being a buffet doesn’t cut it; I’m sure the dogs are well trained enough and the owners intelligent enough not to allow the dogs near the food.

  14. tikva says:

    I was going out to dinner with a group of friends. I bet you also go out to dinner with groups of friends. We had a reservation, and the place was nearly empty when we arrived.

    We didn’t disrupt anything, and in fact when we did wind up at another restaurant, the only the waiter realized there was even one dog under the table, much less six, is that he stepped on the dog’s paw by accident when he was leaning in to serve us.

    I don’t really think that going to a restaurant and expecting them to honor our reservation, seat us, and serve us a meal is exactly uppity. It is, after all, what you expect when you go to a restaurant, right?

  15. tikva says:

    Not only did we not inform them about the number of people with disabilities ahead of time, we also didn’t let them know about the number of women, people of color, couples, vegans (we had two), or anything else. We did let them know how many paying customers were coming. Had we happened to be in the neighborhood and just stopped by, which many customers do, they wouldn’t have known about the guide dogs either.

    We did in fact get out of the way whenever we noticed someone was trying to get through (five of us don’t see so well, so I’ll admit it sometimes took a minute). The owner asked us to go outside and also to leave our dogs in the car on a summer day, which is not only illegal, but often fatal to dogs. No voices were raised, no one swore at anyone. If by “incredibly rude” you mean “didn’t leave when asked”, well, that’s true, we didn’t. I’m told Rosa Parks didn’t either.

    Regardless of how people personally feel about dogs, the law (both federal and state) is very clear about what the rights are of people with service animals. Health departments are also very clear on the rights of people with service animals. There is no conflict, nor is there any ambiguity.

  16. tikva says:

    We never mentioned our disabilities in our reservation, except to ask if the restaurant was wheelchair accessible, because one member of our party would have been unable to enter if it hadn’t been.

    Our dogs are clean and dry, as are service animals in general. (Mine went to the groomer’s on Friday, in fact. She’s been strutting around like a model ever since).

    We did not expect better service. We did, however, expect service. So do you when you enter a restaurant. The fact that we are independent people with disabilities who utilize highly-trained dogs in order to remain independent is not the problem here. I do not bring an assistant with me when I go out, although I do sometimes bring friends, family or a date. Again, we are not so different in this respect.

    But even if all that weren’t true, the law would still stand. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to follow it.

    1. rchm says:

      Don’t confuse a logistics problem with a civil liberties problem.

      you don’t have to mention your disability type, but if you’re bringing an additional 6 bodies in the form of service dogs, it would probably be a good idea to advise and plan.

      this is the reality of living with disability or handicap, and I live/deal with it on a daily basis. Nothing worse than misplaced indignation.

      1. Dawn says:

        Right on!

    2. SD Handler says:

      I wish I were local tikva, I would love to meet up with you and my service dog. You did exactly the right thing. Unfortunately, there will always be people who don’t get it. What’s important is that we make people follow the law and speak up when the discriminate. And, yes….denying access to people with service dogs,whether it be an individual or a group of 50, is discrimination.

  17. Seriously? says:

    You are all a bunch of hypocrites. The sense of entitlement of this group of people is astronomical. This topic is dead to me. To show up and expect to be catered to? Amazing. Good luck with that. I doubt they will lose any business over it. So you are all ganging up on an establishment. Hmm, maybe you are all racist? (Figure I would throw that in because some of you are using the “race card” which is absolutely ridiculous.) Bunch of fools. (with the exception of the few that actually had the nuts to speak their minds without being so PC.) Maybe I will visit the restaurant tonight and give THEM my support.)

    1. Right on! says:

      Tell ’em about it. The next time two or three people come in with wheel chairs, we’ll just make ’em all sit on one persons lap.

      They only need one wheelchair between the lot of ’em. Those chairs take up so much space at the end of tables and in the isles.

      These people are so entitled, expecting to take up so much room in a crowded restaurant.

    2. petem says:

      I made the mistake of trying to be civil in this coversation. You are obviousky not a person with a bit of compassion for people who didnt win the ‘traditional life’ lottery. Here’s hoping that you never have a child with diabilities or that you or your spouse never has an accident that land you in a wheelchair or without your sight, or any number of other things that would ironically ‘open your eyes’.
      You couldnt handle it and your children or spouse would be the worse for having someone like you to have around.
      My 20 year old son was born with a multitude of medical and mental health related difficulties and I am a much better person because of knowing and careing for him….Give that a little thought. thisis my last post on this topic.

    3. Alecta says:

      Seriously, you are an idiot.

    4. Heather Jones says:

      OH NOES THE TOPIC IS DEAD TO YOU! How terrible that people disagreed with you on the internet! Oh the humanity!

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you entitled prick.

  18. muchadoaboutnuthin' says:

    I will be giving Bamboo my business. I think the “guests” should have been more considerate about the size of their group and the number of animals.
    When the laws were written, I’m sure there was no foresight for an event like this.
    Why more press coverage? You really think this is that big a deal?

    12 people and 6 dogs? that’s asking alot of the management. If the group is as responsible as they claim, they should have mentioned the number of service animals that might be there. I do not know what the layout of the restaurant is, but the group could have asked for a function room or other private area where they could enjoy themselves and not inconvenience the rest of the diners.
    Adherance to the law works both ways. You can expect the business to obey the rules, but you also can’t make the situation difficult to satisfy. How many animals is too many?

    The law doesn’t entitle you to make an ass of yourself to make a point. What was the point?

    1. tikva says:

      Well, the point was that we were a group of friends who were hungry. We heard the food is good. Is it good? I wouldn’t know – I still haven’t tasted it.

      The place is pretty big. Lots of room. It was pretty much empty when we got there.

      You are, of course, entirely entitled to give Bamboo your business. But so was I.

    2. Alleyne says:

      All that this group was “asking” of management is what any group asks: a table large enough to accommodate them. Service dogs gladly sit between the chairs, under the chairs and under the table next to their person.

      What a horrible, dreadful, unspeakably disruptive burden!

  19. Isabella says:

    Yet we see dogs of all breeds, not service dogs, being taken into grocery stores, Wal-Mart and just about every place else. I thought it was against the law to allow dogs into these places, other than service dogs. People are being subjected to being bitten by these animals as well as allergic reactions and the diseases these animals can carry into grocery stores, etc. What is wrong with this restaurant? Ignorance. Service animals are trained to behave and are loyal animals as well as necessary to the person needing them. They should be allowed but not just ‘regular’ house pets. Managers of stores should not allow pets into stores, esp. where food is sold. I have even seen these pets in restaurants, yet these animals were not allowed? They are trained to sit under the table, out of sight. What is happening to human common sense?

  20. head says:

    What MORONS and crybabies! How is a blind person gonna select their food choice from a buffet? Sure ok……..The DOG is gonna select it huh?
    If they were gonna stay in place at a table and order off a menu so the pain in the ass “look at me” blind jerk with a dog I wouldn’t see any issues.
    But to wander around a buffet table with a dog?

    1. Alleyne says:

      News flash: there are people with visual impairments who use service dogs to ensure their safety and assist them with navigation while remaining partially sighted. “Blind” is a shorthand that doesn’t necessarily mean that a person cannot see anything at all. People with low sight absolutely benefit from the assistance of a service animal to remain independent, employed and engaged in their community and with friends and family.

      Even if some of the persons in this group were completely blind however, not everyone in the party was. One of the fully sighted guests could’ve assisted in selecting items from the buffet. That doesn’t mean that the person with the service dog wouldn’t have needed the dog to get into the restaurant, to navigate to the buffet (or restroom if they needed it) and most importantly, during their activities before and after the meal.

  21. Piz says:

    It is not a “right” to dine in a restaurant. Would it have been too difficult to call ahead and ask if your party could be accommodated?

    1. Heather Jones says:

      The restaurant is required BY LAW to accommodate them. No one needed to call.

    2. joan says:

      yes, actually. it IS that difficult to have to constantly call ahead to every business you MAY decide to visit to make sure that “the freak” is welcome.

      i really hope that at some point you become very, very good friends with someone who is disabled, and maybe then you’ll be able to see outside of your sheltered little existence.

      1. G.O.D. says:

        All that money people pay these days for their phones. They talk about nothing for hours, and yes, this includes disabled people of all types, but make them use that fancy f___er for 30 extra seconds to call ahead about 6 DOGS at a restaurant and suddenly it’s too inconvenient. So what about the 6 people without dogs that obviously were not disabled? Oh wait, I forgot! A phone call is inconvenient. How could I possibly expect you to ask a friend for help…

  22. John says:

    I am disabled and I have to agree that 6 dogs and no notice that they were bringing 6 dogs is wrong

    1. Alleyne says:

      So which members of the group should have stayed home? What is the maximum number of people with visual impairments who are allowed to be together at one time?

  23. Lori says:

    Even though I think you should not have had to call ahead because these dogs are service dogs you probably should have just to let them know there would be six of you and to make sure you would not have a problem.

    1. Heather Jones says:

      Yes, let’s make disabled people shoulder extra burdens because otherwise it might be inconvenient for people to follow the law and do their jobs. Oh wait, that would be discriminatory.

  24. emom says:

    Lets see maybe we should limit those that have to much cologne on, or how about to much perfume. We should limit them since its offensive to sit there and smell the putrid odor of there fragrance… God forbid we have to worry about any disabled person that may want to sit and disturb us since they require assistance to eat. Then maybe we should limit those that have the need to be on their cell phones in a restaurant, or to have unruly children sitting at the tables… after all they can be a nuisance while trying to enjoy a meal. what is so wrong with allowing disabled folks to sit and enjoy a meal just like all the others that pay their way to do so.. Have we come so far to allow this kind of rudeness again… didn’t we once do this so many years ago… I thought as Americans we have gotten past this kind of discrimination. I wonder how those with no disabilities would feel it they were denied something. I bet you would cry NOT FAIR. It is sad when we do this and then show the younger generation that its ok to deny someone access just because of their lack of ability.. What a message we send to them. If some so hate seeing disabled people, pray it never happens to you. Just saying…. Disability is not a disease.

  25. Art Green says:

    The cops don’t know the law, and show no interest in learning it or properly enforcing it. If they aren’t getting paid extra to guard potholes, they don’t bother.

  26. Chicago Native says:

    First let me say that my sister is blind and has a service dog. I understand totally the things that she has to deal with as someone with a disability. I also know how impeccably train these dogs are. The restaurant owner’s behavior was inexcusable, but perhaps their first fear was not for the reaction of other customers, but instead was a fear of the health department. All it takes is one person to misstate the facts. I can imagine someone saying that the restaurant was letting in any old stray dog, while leaving out the part that these were service dogs. No,the situation was not handled well, but it sounds like it all boils down to ignorance and fear.

    1. Dawn says:

      And severe allergies to dogs/cats that 25 million Americans have.

  27. Dave says:

    I didn’t see anyone hit on the allergy topic yet. Unfortunately, I happen to be very allergic to dogs and cats and if I was near six of them at a restaurant it would be extremely inconvient to me as well. Possibly a trip to the ER if I didn’t have my rescue inhaler. Although I don’t consider asthma a disability (and in my case it only seems to be aggrivated by animals), it never seems to pose much of an argument when it comes to brining animals into public places/airplane cabins, etc. I would have no problem escorting a group of disabled folks to their tables and assisting them as needed if in turn they’d leave Fido outdoors.

    1. MarkinFL says:

      I’m allergic to perfume and cologne, I wish people would leave their Mrs. outdoors as well.

    2. Alleyne says:

      You, however, are not trained to provide the assistance that the people with the service dogs need. Their dogs are. Your inconvenience doesn’t trump someone else’s safety. It just doesn’t work that way.

      And leaving service animals outside on an 80 degree day isn’t acceptable, either. What you’ve suggested is neither a solution nor a workable compromise. Nor, most importantly, does it comply with Federal law.

  28. DogLuvr4eva69 says:

    If you can’t SEE what the problem is…you’re probably the kind of person who thinks its OK to bring 6 dogs unannounced to a Chinese restaurant. Sorry, life sucks when you can’t see where the buffet is, but sometimes life just sucks. Maybe I dont want a well-trained German Shepard salivating over my crab rangoons….who is being descriminated against, you or ME. You have no problem wailing about your rights, what about mine? And by the way we would have more sympathy for “service dogs” if they were strictly for the blind but when people with “anxiety” or “social phobia” start making noise about bringing thier lapdogs onto airplanes…they are diluting the arguement. Rail against them, before you cry discrimination against us.

    1. michele says:

      Damn, that is one TALL GS. Salivating, really? BTW, PTSD survivors who have suffered at war, through rape, etc. are issued service dogs as support to keep them calm in public. When you have experienced such anxiety or panic that it shuts you down, rendering you disabled; perhaps THEN you can ” ” the disorder. Meanwhile, you imply that these people, who have already been through so much… should be forced a life of misanthropic solitude, rather than utilize service dogs in their potentil rehabilition? Maybe we should just give them TONS of drugs which will ruin their lives in another way. That is a better solution, huh?

    2. MarkinFL says:

      The point is that well-trained dogs will not be salivating over your rangoons. Your personal issues are yours, I’ve never been inconvenienced in the least by a service animal. All the complaints I read here are theoretical or just personal taste issues. I don’t like to eat around people with bad manners, but that’s my problem. If you do not like being around service animals you do have the choice to leave. But it is your own choice, you are not being pushed out.

    3. Bridget says:

      First of all, I would hope that the handler would have more sense than to allow their dogs to get that close to the food. Second, is there only one type of disability? No. Then what makes you think that there is only one type of service dog? Dogs actually do help people with severe anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric conditions, as well as with mobility, seizures, and deafness. Imagine that.

  29. G.O.D. says:

    I’m noticing many of the same posters railing against the comments of those who do not care for eating around dogs. I am allergic to dogs. I am also not an aggressively needy customer that apparently doesn’t have even one courteous enough person amongst them to take 5 seconds to get on their little iPhone, google the restaurant’s #, call them, and warn them. I’m not talking about asking permission, and quit acting like 6 dogs in a public place where dogs are otherwise prohibited is in any way normal or sanitary. At least a call would have lessened the initial surprise and enabled the business to keep a place slightly out of the way to more easily accommodate ALL customers.

    1. MarkinFL says:

      Can you identify the specific additional sanitary problems that would have been caused by the service animals?

  30. Dawn says:

    I have multiple chemical sensitivity (a disability), and I am very allergic to dogs. My disability is very difficult to live with.

    If six dogs came into a restaurant where I was eating, my lungs would slam shut very quickly, and I would have to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.

    There are people who do not have multiple chemical sensitivity who are very allergic to dogs/cats. 25 million Americans have the dog/cat allergy.

    I am sure that the six blind people are not unaware that many people are severely allergic to dogs.

    There might have been a way to accommodate the six dogs, especially given the time of year. Was patio dining an option? Clearly, the way to handle this would have been for the organizer of the gathering to call and discuss things in advance.

    The restaurant would have been in the wrong to not accommodate one or possibly two service dogs. However, expecting the restaurant to accommodate six service dogs at one time, with no notice or advance warning, is unfair to the restaurant owner.

    1. MarkinFL says:

      And with the advanced warning the restauranteur could have done….. what?

      Also, 25 million people may have some sensitivity to dogs (I don’t know that, but just say it is accurate), how many are extremely sensitive?
      Your post pretty blatantly tries to imply that many more people have severe allergies. Are you allergic to any other environmental chemicals or is it just dogs and cats? What about the dander on dog owners?

      1. Dawn says:

        Most people with multiple chemical sensitivity are also very allergic to dogs and cats.

        Six dogs in one room would sicken plenty of people who don’t have MCS.

        My post does not “imply” that many more people have serious allergies, it STATES THE FACT that many more people have severe allergies.

        On real estate disclosure paperwork, the failure of a property owner to disclose that dogs and cats lived in the house being sold will land him/her in court. People with the dog/cat allergy cannot move into a home where dogs or cats have lived.

        Pet hair on a dog owner’s clothes is not the same thing as having six 80# dogs in a dining room.

        Every disabled person has rights under federal, state, and local laws. For example: Our civil rights are protected by the Fair Housing Act in housing and HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act.

        Under the Fair Housing Act I might be able to stop all use of chemicals near the condo where I live because I have multiple chemical sensitivity. If I took this stand, it would mean that a neighbor who had a roach problem would not be able exterminate, and painting and other maintenance could not take place. Instead, I choose to ask for accommodation of my disability, and I seek compromises that allow people to do what they need to do.

        I have been displaced for periods of time when chemicals were used. I would rather not leave my condo to accommodate painting and a neighbor’s use of pesticides. However, is it right for the neighbor to have to sell her condo and move because I stand in the way of her getting rid of roaches? I don’t think so.

        The folks with the dogs don’t agree with my point of view. They have a right to have the six dogs in the restaurant, and they are going to take the six dogs in and nobody better object. It doesn’t matter if patrons get sick and have to leave or if somebody (disabled or not disabled) has an asthma attack and has be taken to Emergency.

        MarkinFL, you write: “And with advanced warning the restauranteur could have done….what?” I urge you to read my post again. I mentioned the possibility of patio seating for the group. Arranging for the best time for them to come, when there would be the least patrons, also comes to mind.

        This is not about rights. It is about taking the needs of others into consideration.

        The restaurant owner would not have had a problem with one or two dogs. I have left coffee shops and asked to be moved on airplanes because I cannot sit next to or near a dog. If I were in that restaurant and two blind people came in with dogs, I would have left early with only a brief comment about my allergies and no hard feelings. The issue here is about six dogs being brought into the restaurant at the same time.

        There is a question about how to live life that is worth pondering. It doesn’t matter who you are or whether or not you are disabled. The question is: Would you rather be right or get your outcome?

        The folks with the dogs would rather be right. I would rather get my outcome.

    2. Alleyne says:

      Maybe you should be the one who calls ahead to everywhere you go to make sure they can accommodate you and your disability.

      Wait, no, you don’t think you should have to do that, you just want to burden people with service dogs with that task.

      Interesting how the idea of calling ahead doesn’t apply to you and your special needs…

      1. Dawan says:

        Alleyne, I am very careful where I go and what I do, and I do not impose on other people.

        As far as how I handle things, I already wrote an extensive explanation above.

        The party of 13 with six service dogs were within their rights, but they put the restaurant owner in a difficult position. Perhaps the restaurant owner had allergies himself.

        I have seen that people who take others into consideration have happier lives than those who do not.

        Being right vs. getting your outcome.

        I don’t have special needs that require a restaurant or patrons of a restaurant to go out of their way. If I were bringing a party of 13 that included 6 people with service dogs, I would call ahead. That IS an unusual situation.

        I can eat at a restaurant without difficulty. If there is the smell of a pesticide or some strange odor, I notice it immediately and leave. This happens to me less than once a year. If I present in a way that requires accommodation (broken leg, special diet,etc.), I call ahead.

        I agree!

        It should not be considered a burden to call ahead if there is a special need like a large number of diners and six service dogs. It is a polite thing to do.

        Of course, you can arrive without calling ahead and make a big stew about things. (Right vs outcome) I keep repeating this point because it is a way of living life. It has nothing to do with being disabled. Most people who are all about being right are not disabled.

    3. JMS says:

      You are literally the first person I have ever heard who is suffering from profound allergies who has suggested that your issues trump the access rights of people with service animals.

      Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but let me say that the millions of people who have profound allergies are not all of your opinion, nor (at least in my experience) do you represent even a significant minority of that group.

      My own issues are also “very difficult to live with,” too, and limit the restaurants and public venues I can go to. My own experience is that cleaning products and perfumes are far more likely than anything else to trigger a serious response in a public space, and my allergy to dogs is extreme.

      Maybe if more currently able people were more watchful of using allergens they don’t need, you would have less trouble interacting with people using necessary service animals? Having a rights-off between people who are experiencing disabilities, rather than focusing on larger issues of accommodation, seems like a fruitless task.

      1. JMS says:

        And I actually spend a lot of time talking with other people who have life-limiting allergies and sensitivities and doing activism and awareness for same, and I have never before encountered a suggestion that people using service animals are infringing on our rights in any way. Again, you’re entitled to your opinion, Dawn, but my experience is that it’s not representative.

      2. Dawn says:

        JMS, Please read my post above.

        One person’s rights don’t trump another person’s rights. I don’t see life in that way.

        Please read my entire post. Read what I wrote about yielding to people with service dogs. I have gotten up and left coffee shops and restaurants where there is a service dog with no hard feelings. You seem not to understand that six dogs is a different order of magnitude than one or two dogs. I am much more allergic to dogs than I am to fragrances. Since you brought up fragrances, think of one smell being six time more potent than another smell.

        Please read what I wrote about rights and being right vs. getting your outcome.

        The people who are all about being right are not happy campers, and this has nothing to do with disabilities.

        I am not against anybody with or without a disability. I certainly am not opposed to disabled people using guide dogs.

  31. teremist says:

    The restaurant made a SERIOUS error. The police FAILED to do the whole job of fully informing them of their responsibilities and the consequences of non-compliance with the law. As a result, 13 humans and 6 dogs were badly treated. Not only should the restaurant provide a free meal, they should adopt and publish a new policy of welcoming and accommodating the impaired and their service animals. Ignorance can be forgiven once, but not twice.

  32. Nikki says:

    Lemme see — dining with six service dogs or six obnoxious screaming children at a restaurant??? Seen too many children with dirty hair, unwashed bodiies and clothing & who knows when THEY had shots. At least the dogs are trained.

    1. SMCR says:

      I once witnessed someone change a baby’s dirty diaper *in a restaurant booth*! Good thing this restaurant didn’t have a buffet, or I am pretty sure Clueless and Entitled Mom would have gone up to the buffet without washing her hands! Ewww. Give me service dogs in a restaurant any day over obnoxious children and/or their parents. I love seeing more than one assistance dog at a time because it highlights how well trained they are. An ordinary dog will greet another dog with enthusiasm–or aggression. The assistance dogs I have seen in larger groups have this special “nod” they seem to give each other that would translate to “Hey, Bob. How’s work?”

  33. Tony says:

    The restaurant should have let them in.

    However, saying that the dogs would simply “lie under the table” at a buffet is just silly. They have to get up with their handler each time they go to get more food and walk through the buffet line. Service animal or not, if I’m another paying customer at that restaurant I don’t want six dogs going through the same buffet line as me multiple times. Newsflash, animals shed. Animals, even ones that have just been to the groomer, are not clean enough to have around food like that. Period. End of discussion. It’s fact, not opinion. So what does that restaurant ower tell the irate customer that just found a dog hair in his food?

    The group should have went to a non-buffet restaurant if they had that many dogs with them. Being disable doesn’t excuse being inconsiderate of others.

    1. MarkinFL says:

      Maybe these people do not eat like pigs. Just how many times do YOU go through a buffet line? Once is generally enough for me. If I were blind, I think I would not want to deal with the buffet line too many times anyway.

      Newsflash: people shed and they are tall enough that their hair actually falls into the buffet. I’d rather have 6 dogs than some of the people I encounter in restaurants. Especially the ones that keep going through the line multiple times.

  34. Eric says:

    just a few points. service dogs are highly trained animals. in fact the training runs about 15 grand per dog. when in a restauraunt, they have been trained to ignore any food, even if it is on the floor where that are laying. they are trained to be under the table and inconcspicuous at all times. the dogs are teamed with one person and one person, only, they cannot be paired with indivduals. the dogs are required to be kept well groomed/cleaned.

    my daughter has MS and a seizure disorder and has a siezure alert dog. I can’t tell you the number of times we have been in a restaurant and have gotten up from the table to leave and the only people aware of our 120 lb black lab/great dane mix service dog were the person who seated us and anybody who might have seen us come in.

    I pity some of the people who have made some really callous/ignorant remarks about this situation for your ignorance would seem to know no bounds.

    And god forbid, you or any one of your loved ones would ever end up with any kind of disabilty that requires a service dog. I thank god every day for ours….

    1. Dawn says:

      Eric, I know somebody who has MS with a similar black lab/great dane. She could not live independently without the dog, and she faces problems because businesses tell her she cannot enter their store because she is not blind.

      I am very supportive of the use of service dogs, and I manage to function around the allergic reaction that I have to one or two service dogs in a restaurant.

      The restaurant owner was on the wrong side of the law, but I think that a party of 13 that included six service dogs put him in a difficult position.

      I hope that your daughter’s use of a service dog will become more widely accepted.

      Last week I made a comment at the Post Office that they should replace their sign to read that only service dogs are allowed, instead of only guide dogs for the blind.

      I think it is remarkable that a dog can anticipate a siezure and block the fall. I hear that only a few dogs have that ability.

      I wish you and your daughter well.

      1. Eric says:


        Actually, we’ve had only a few instances where people have balked at letting Smokey in. He is a registed service dog and can go anywhere she can, by law. Ignorance of the law is the main problem we have run into, but when explain that he is allowed to go where she goes, by federal law, and then show them a copy of the law, virtually all have accpeted it. my daughter and my wife both went thru some training with Smokey and both are certified and have ID cards to show it.

        he doesn’t block the fall. what they are trained to do is alert to the possibility to a seizure and then we can watch/monitor her, closely. everybody has a chemical body odor and it can/will change up to 24 hours before a seizure occurs. the dogs are trained to notice the change and alert to it. they are also trained to either stay with the person, if they have a seizure or can be told to go find someone, in which case he can look for either me or my wife.

        it really is an amazing thing and he is as much of a companion to her as a working service dog.

  35. Harmless says:

    I don’t understand why there is a debate in the comments section here. The law says that service animals are permitted in restaurants. The restaurant broke the law. The restaurant was in the wrong. ‘The restaurant’ is probably whatever low-level employee was on duty, who was not familiar with the law. Now that person’s boss has to deal with negative publicity and a likely fine for breaking the law.

    All of the people who are arguing that the restaurant was right to break the law are surprisingly ignorant. Restaurants don’t have the privilege of breaking laws they don’t like. At your own private home, of course, you are welcome to choose not to invite people who might bring service animals.

  36. Dawn says:

    I am signing off.

    It has been a lively and interesting discussion.

    Good night, all.

  37. SD Handler says:

    If I were local, I’d lead a dog mob. For those not in the service dog world, that’s were a group of service dog handlers visit a business that has caused problems for service dog handlers in a peaceful manner. If all goes well, great. If it doesn’t, we don’t leave and we do stand up for our rights. I’ve never had a dog mob go badly, and its a lot of fun to go out with a group of service dog handlers.

    The ignorance in the comments here is crazy. First…You don’t have to be blind to have a service dog. Anyone who has a disability can have a service dog that mitigates their disability. My own is a seizure alert/response dog. He’s a big 115 lb boy but, in most restaurants, people don’t know he’s there unless they see him come in or out. We’ve been out with groups of service dog handlers, doing so is fun, and no we don’t call first. Would you expect a group of people in wheel chairs to call first?

    It comes down to this:

    The law states that allergies is not a valid reason to deny access. IF someone has an allergy to dogs that rises to the level of disability per the ADA, they have to accommodate both without denying access to the person/people with service dog(s). The restaurant broke the law.

    To the poster that said you know one of the service dogs wasn’t necessary…Really? how do you know that? That’s not your decision to make. Many disabilities are invisible. You can’t tell that I’m disabled by looking at me, but that doesn’t make my SD unnecessary.

  38. Bob Plugh says:

    Not one comment yet has mentioned the fact that the police themselves did not apply the law correctly. It is the police that should have charges brought against them for dereliction of duty – I’m sure a good DA can find a bunch of other charges.\

    It is these same police that misapply laws against law abiding citizens all the time. Either they should learn the law, or, in the case of something like this, call back to the station and get in touch with a supervisor who then would be “on the hook” for this incident should it be handled incorrectly. That supervisor could also go “up the chain” should he/she feel it is necessary to do so.

  39. Bev says:

    My husband has a Hearing service dog. I walk with a cane and my son has Tourette’s. Perhaps the ignorant on this subject should read about the impact service dog’s have on the disabled lives and oh I don’t know…….educate themselves.

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