A South Carolina restaurant owner who allegedly refused service to a woman with a service dog didn’t just get a slap on the wrist from law enforcement. He got arrested.
Myrtle Beach restaurant owner Hrachya Avagyan was charged with interfering with the rights of a blind/disabled person when he refused to allow a service dog of into Seafood World, according to The Sun News.
The woman told police Avagyan said the restaurant was private property and that he doesn’t allow dogs. The woman said she tried to show him her certification for the dog (not required, as readers have noted in the comments), and to explain the law, reports Carolina Live. The dog was wearing a service animal vest. It did no good.
For his refusal, Avagyan has so far spent one night in jail, according to the latest update.
As more people become familiar with service dogs and the Americans with Disabilities Act, flat-out refusals like this are happening less frequently, says Marianna Thompson, who works with a group that places service dogs with disabled people in the Carolinas. Unfortunately, not all business owners are on board.
“Not everyone feels that an animal should be in a restaurant and it’s something that it’s just going to take time to change,” says Thompson, who uses a service dog herself.
Judging by past responses to similar articles, a good number of Dogsters have service dogs and have had similar issues. Have you noticed the problem decreasing over the years? What have you done when someone has tried to restrict you and your dog? And what do you think of the restaurant owner being arrested? Was that over the top, or a good example for others who might try to deny access to people with service dogs?