Zakk Wrabiutza works with his service dog at home in Anderson. (Sept. 18, 2013/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
An Anderson man said he wants to raise awareness after he and his service dog were almost kicked out of a McDonald's restaurant.
Zakk Wrabiutza suffers from type 1 diabetes, and he trains service dogs for people like himself, so they can get the support they need.
On Sept. 12, Zakk's blood sugar dropped and he needed food immediately. He and his father stopped at the McDonald's on Pearman Dairy Road in Anderson. They brought their service dog Layla, a golden doodle, in with them. Zakk said staff at that restaurant became concerned.
He told FOX Carolina the manager approached him.
"She told me that the only service dog that was allowed inside their McDonald's was a seeing-eye dog," Zakk said.
Zakk began to tell the manager about a key provision in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which allows service dogs to enter public places, including restaurants, "even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises."
The law also states no one is permitted to ask the service dog owner about his or her disability. They can only ask whether the animal is a service dog, and about what it is trained to do.
Zakk said an Anderson County deputy was sitting near the table at the McDonald's, who asked him those very questions. Zakk showed him his dog-training business card, which had that provision of the ADA written on it. Zakk said the officer told the manager he saw no problem with the service dog being in the restaurant.
Zakk and his father told FOX Carolina they want to raise awareness about this issue, saying ignorance to the law led to an unpleasant experience for everyone.
"You would think a manager knows what's going to happen, what needs to happen and what to do in this situation. She had no idea," Zakk said.
In a statement, the franchise owner of the McDonald's, Larry Linnette told FOX Carolina:
"Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers. We thoroughly train our crew and staff on the [Americans with Disabilities Act]. There was a misunderstanding within one of our restaurants, and we are working to ensure all restaurant personnel have updated training so we may better serve our customers in the future."
Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:31:29 GMT
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