Garrett Loughran is a veteran who has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq who owns a 5-year-old labradoodle named Hershey. The service dog helps him deal with his crippling PTSD, so when Loughran went to a Houlihan’s restaurant in Algonquin, Illinois with his mother on Sunday, he brought the dog with him.
He never expected this to happen next.
The manager quickly turned Loughran away because of his dog, even though the law requires that businesses allow trained service dogs like Hershey inside.
“He had his red cape on that said he was a ‘service dog,’” Laura Wills, Garrett’s mother, told the press afterwards. “We have the papers with us but she just said, ‘Well we don’t allow dogs in the restaurant. What type of service does he provide?’ And my son said, ‘You’re not allowed to ask that.’”
“I expected that by this day and age everybody knows what service dogs are and they should be more accepting of veterans like me who have to have a service dog to acclimate themselves to this new world again,” Loughran added.
After the veteran’s family, the restaurant released a statement expressing their apology for what happened.
There is no apology that is sufficient in this circumstance. This is inexcusable. I will ensure this is addressed and that no other person has to endure what you and your son did today. To be perfectly clear: Houlihan’s supports and appreciates all veterans and the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for this country. We have and will always allow service dogs in our restaurants.
In the wake of the backlash, Houlihan’s has fired the manager who turned Loughran away. The corporation has also announced that they will be donating $2,000 for the training of a service dog for Pets for Vets.
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