Navy Veteran, service dog kicked out of Easley restaurant - FOX Carolina 21

Navy Veteran, service dog kicked out of Easley restaurant

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Joanne Powner and her service dog Nikki (Fox Carolina 2014) Joanne Powner and her service dog Nikki (Fox Carolina 2014)
EASLEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Joanne Powner said she and her service dog Nikki got the boot from the China Garden Chinese restaurant back on June 20.

Powner said she is a Navy veteran that suffers from PTSD and Nikki is a certified service dog that helps her cope with her symptoms.

"If I have a flashback she gets me out of it," Powner said.

Powner said when she and Nikki went to eat at the China Garden the owner asked them to leave because he didn't want Nikki inside.

"I was embarrassed, humiliated," Powner said.

Powner said she showed the owner Nikki's certifications and even a copy of the American's with Disabilities Act, showing they had the right to be there. She said that's when the owner called Easley police.

"I was so nervous I was shaking," Powner said.

Police said they responded but determined it was a civil matter. The owner of the China Garden tells Fox Carolina he called police to clarify the law. The owner said customers had complained about service dogs before and he was not sure if it was a health code violation so he asked Powner to leave.

Powner said ignorance is no excuse. "Establishments need to know the rules."

The restaurant owner said he is now clear on the law and feels sorry about what happened. He said anyone with a service dog is welcomed to eat at his restaurant.

Powner said she hopes her experience will help spread the word to other businesses and vets.

"I just want this to be known that you have rights with your service dog," Powner said.

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