A veteran who has served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan was denied service at a Houlihan's in Algonquin, Illinois, on Sunday, when he, his mother, and his service dog visited the restaurant. The man and his mother spoke with WGNTV about the incident (video shown below).
Garrett Loughran, of Huntley, has a 5-year-old labradoodle named Hershey, who is trained to help him deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, WGNTV reports. As a service dog, Hershey is allowed to be taken everywhere by law.
But a manager at Houlihan's reportedly refused to allow them inside when they tried to get a table for lunch.
"He had his red cape on that said he was a 'service dog,'" Laura Wills, Garrett's mother, told WGNTV. "We have the papers with us but she just said, 'Well we don't allow dogs in the restaurant. What type of service does he provide?' And my son said, 'You're not allowed to ask that.'"
Garrett said he was surprised by the treatment.
"I expected that by this day and age everybody knows what service dogs are and they should be more accepting of veterans like me who have to have a service dog to acclimate themselves to this new world again," he said.
Garrett's family complained to Houlihan's and was sent a statement by a senior manager:
There is no apology that is sufficient in this circumstance. This is inexcusable. I will ensure this is addressed and that no other person has to endure what you and your son did today. To be perfectly clear: Houlihan's supports and appreciates all veterans and the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for this country. We have and will always allow service dogs in our restaurants.
Houlihan's reportedly confirmed that the manager who turned them away has since been fired and that the corporation is donating $2,000 — which is the cost of training one service dog — to Pets for Vets.
Houlihan's posted the following message on its Facebook page: