Disabled vet kicked out of Houston restaurant over service dog

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by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 27 at 10:54 AM

HOUSTON -- A U.S. Army and Navy veteran says he was told he had to leave a west Houston restaurant because of his service dog.

Aryeh Ohayon says it happened Tuesday at the Thai Spice Buffet II restaurant in the 2500 block of South Voss Road.

Ohayon called Houston Police and waited inside the restaurant.

He claims the officer who responded made him feel even worse.

“I told him what my disabilities were. That’s when he said, 'you’re not blind',” recalled Ohayon. “[He said] 'I don’t see why you need the dog.'”

Ohayon served this country for 23 years.

He says the memories from his more than two decades of service have led to depression and PTSD, both of which his service dog Bandit is there for.

“He’s the alert if I start to have a panic attack or start to go into a flashback mode,” said Ohayon.

A new law passed less than year ago by Governor Rick Perry protects people with service dogs from being refused entry into public places.

It makes it a misdemeanor to refuse entry to service dogs.

According to Houston Police, the officer who responded called the Harris County District Attorney’s Office after responding to the restaurant.

The officer claims he was told Thai Spice Buffet II has the right to refuse service because it is a private entity.

“It feels like your service and experience that you’ve done to defend and uphold the constitution and protect this country have been belittled,” said Ohayon.

A manager at Thai Spice Buffet II restaurant says Ohayon was offered service while he waited for police. The manager told KHOU that she is looking into what happened but believes it was a misunderstanding.

Houston Police say Ohayon denied having a disability when asked by the officer.

Ohayon says that is simply not true. He has contacted the city of Houston to make officials aware of the situation he encountered.

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