GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A western Michigan bar has apologized for asking a veteran and his service dog leave the hotel.
Jerome Smith was asked to leave The Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids on Friday. Smith said that he makes use of his service dog, Jo-Jo, for the management of post-traumatic stress disorder from his time as a Marine.
“I told them, ‘That is not legal. That is not good. You can’t do that,'” Smith said.
The Americans with Disabilities Act a person with a disability to have a service animal in companies that are in the service of the public. Companies may ask a service animal to leave if they believe that the animal’s behavior may threaten the health or safety of others.
Bar staff said they were concerned for the safety of the dog and others in the crowded bar. The bar later posted an apology on his Facebook page and said that it will donate all of the sales from Nov. 12 to the Grand Rapids home for Veterans. The bar said that it hopes that the donation will help to raise awareness about the importance of the animals.
“Although the decisions that were in that night were made with care for all involved, it is clear that the wrong decisions were taken,” the bar said in the post. “We are deeply sorry, we know that we can’t change what happened, but hope we can learn from this.”
Service dogs are different from pets or the comfort of the animals, because they are specially trained to perform tasks or work for a specific person with a disability who can not perform the task or achieve the work independently,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.