Woman says she was denied restaurant entry because of service dog
KITCHENER -- A Kitchener, Ont. woman said she was denied entry into a restaurant after failing to provide ID for her service dog.
Hannah Lomoth said she plans to file a report with the Human Rights Tribunal.
Her three-year-old golden retriever, Gabriel, is a medical alert service dog.
"He alerts me to episodes before they even happen," Lomoth said.
She said she has a heart and connective tissue condition that can lead to dizziness or fainting.
"Just because I'm standing and walking around doesn't mean I'm not disabled," Lomoth said.
Lomoth said her disability was questioned when she and her sister, Isabel, tried to eat at Ye's Sushi in Waterloo last week.
"Instead I ended up having an almost hour-long dispute," Lomoth said.
She said she was denied entry because she didn't show an ID card for Gabriel.
"Basically I was just really upset for her," Isabel said. "It was very dehumanizing for her."
The province said ID isn't required for service animals. If a business questions it, an owner can provide a doctor's note.
"It was our mistake," Ye's Sushi co-owner Mandy Lei said. "They were not happy."
The restaurant issued an online apology online and staff members weren't fully versed on the rules.
"It was more 'I got in trouble, I'm sorry I guess,'" Lomoth said.
Lei said they called the customer and offered a $100 gift card, but they didn't accept it.
Lomoth said they did end up dining there that day, along with another person with a service dog who had also been denied entry.
"We would've preferred not to give them our service," Lomoth said. "We really want to make a point.
Lei said staff and managers have since taken accessibility training to ensure it doesn't happen again.
"We should treat our customers with compassion first," Lei said.
Lei also said the person who was working at the front desk is no longer in that position.
The sisters said they plan to file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to make a point.
"The equivalent of a wheelchair or an oxygen tank," Isabel said about her sister's service dog. "They are medical equipment."