A 21-year Air Force and Iraq War veteran has gone public with his complaint against a Massachusetts restaurant owner after both he and his service dog were barred from the eatery because of the owner’s allegations the dog is not legitimate.
WFXT-TV reported on Sunday that James Glaser and his dog, Jack, were kicked out of Big I’s eatery in Oxford despite showing documentation proving the dog helps treat Glaser’s post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Many times, he’s [woken] me up from night terrors,” Glaser told WFXT. “And then, during the day, when I get upset and mad or something scares me or whatever, he comes up and paws my chest.”
But Big I’s owner, Russell Ireland, refused to accept Glaser’s certificate during their encounter on Saturday, even after local police verified its authenticity.
“This is a post-traumatic stress dog,” Ireland told WHDH-TV and other local media on Sunday. “It’s to give him emotional support. How much emotional support do you need when you are eating breakfast.”
Faced with a barrage of angry phone calls and threats after the incident became public knowledge, WHDH reported that Ireland has apologized to veterans with what he considers a “legitimate service dog,” while still refusing to serve Glaser, who has, in turn, threatened to file an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint.
Watch WFXT’s report on the encounter between Ireland and Glaser, aired Sunday, below.
Update, 7:21 a.m. EST Aug. 28: WCVB-TV reported on Tuesday that Ireland has apologized to Glaser for refusing to serve him.
“I didn’t realize how important it was,” Ireland told a local radio station. “I’m changing my mind and my stance on what I said earlier. I believe now that they are very necessary. And I again apologize for my mistake.”
According to WCVB, a protest at the diner has been scheduled for Saturday.
Watch a video report on Ireland’s change of heart, aired Tuesday, below.