Target: Owner of Big I’s Diner, Russell Ireland
Goal: Apologize for forcing a disabled war veteran to leave the diner because of his service dog
James Glaser, a war veteran who worked for the United States Air Force for over 20 years, was recently kicked out of a local diner for having his service dog accompany him. The owner of the Big I’s Diner in Oxford, Massachusetts, Russell Ireland, stated that Glaser’s dog “didn’t look like a therapy dog… it just looked like a regular mutt.” Ireland appeared to believe that Glaser’s service dog was simply a pet, despite having been told before that the dog was a therapy animal during Glaser’s previous visits to the establishment. After what both parties agreed was a “heated exchange,” Ireland informed Glaser that he could not bring his dog inside, and Glaser was forced to leave.
Glaser’s dog, Jack, is a small Jack Russell terrier that Glaser admits is “not what people are used to seeing,” in terms of a service animal. However, this does not detract from the aid that Jack has offered to Glaser in the wake of his 21 years in the United States military. Glaser was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2011 by a Veterans Administration hospital. PTSD, which is fairly common amongst veterans, can lead to high anxiety levels, mood swings, memory submission and sometimes flashbacks. These symptoms can severely affect everyday life, making daily tasks difficult. According to Glaser, his dog Jack provides him with comfort and will wake him from night terrors, or place a paw on Glaser’s chest when he becomes upset.
Though Ireland maintains that he supports veterans, he stands by his decision to kick both Glaser and Jack out of his diner. Glaser has stated that he does not wish to return to Big I’s Diner, and hopes that others will boycott the establishment as well. Furthermore, he hopes to “bring to light the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Laws and service dogs” in the face of this discrimination.
Tell the owner of Big I’s Diner, Russell Ireland, that illegal discrimination will not be tolerated. Demand that he apologize for refusing service to a disabled veteran simply because of that veteran’s legal, service animal.
Dear Russell Ireland,
Recently, you refused service to a disabled veteran because he brought his service dog into your establishment. In a public statement, you defended your actions by stating your belief that the dog was not a therapy animal because it did not look like one. However, other reports allege that the veteran, James Glaser, had visited your diner before and informed you that his dog was, in fact, a service dog used to help him cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, despite your previous knowledge that Glaser’s dog was a service animal, you still chose to kick him out of your diner. This reveals an immense lack of respect for veterans, as well as a lack of education regarding service animals. In many cases, these animals are vital to a person’s wellbeing.
By turning away Glaser and his dog, you illegally discriminated against a disabled veteran who was within his rights. This sort of behavior should not and will not be tolerated.
I demand that you extend a public apology to Glaser for your prejudiced behavior.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jocelyn Augustino via Wikimedia Commons