War veteran, service dog refused service at Houston-area restaurant

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

CHANNELVIEW, Texas - A Marine Corps veteran is feeling embarrassed and angry after he says he was denied service at a Houston-area bar and restaurant because of his service dog, Truman.

Don Brown, a veteran of the Gulf War, was medically discharged after being diagnosed with PTSD. For the past eight months, the Spring man has had his service dog, Truman, to help him cope with everyday life.

"For a long time I avoided going out in public," said Brown. "I was kind of a shut-in. He's allowed me to get back out and start enjoying life."

But Brown says he was turned away from the River Side Inn Marina in Channelview Wednesday when he tried to grab a burger with his best friend and Truman by his side. He says he told the waitress that Truman was a service dog, but she went to talk to her manager.

"This guy comes out from the back, from across the bar, very loudly calls out, 'can you see?'" said Brown.

Brown believes the manager didn't think Truman was a certified service dog. Brown says the manager asked him to leave because of an "attitude problem."

It's against federal and state law to ask a person about their disability -- or to deny someone service because of a service dog. That is, unless the animal is causing a disturbance or threat. Brown says that was not the case, so Local 2 went by the bar to talk to management.

As soon as our crew walked in a man who didn't identify himself as an owner, manager, or patron asked them to leave. Our video clearly shows our crew asking to speak to a manager, but no one ever identified themselves as a manager.

Local 2 never received an answer about Don Brown's claims, but we do know how he plans to handle the situation. When asked if he thinks he'll ever go back to the restaurant again the former Marine's answer was loud and clear.

"No. Absolutely not."

Copyright 2014 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.