Over the weekend, a Marine and a service dog were asked to leave The Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids. A Facebook post detailing the experience was shared over 4,000 times.
The Holiday Bar responded to this incident by donating all of its sales on Sunday, Nov. 12 to the Grand Rapids Homes for Veterans.
"We know this doesn't change what happened," the restaurant said. "But maybe it will be a cause for reflection in our own hearts if nothing else."
In a statement, the west side restaurant said, "The donation is a part of a public apology, and an effort to raise awareness about the importance of service animals after U.S. Marines with a service dog were asked to leave over the weekend for the safety of the animal and the other guests in a dark and busy environment."
The manager involved in the incident said he comes from a family of military servicemen. "Although I had good intentions of keeping both the service dog and the customers safe, my actions were disrespectful and unprofessional,” he said.
"Words can't express my shame and embarrassment for the situation at The Holiday Bar on Friday night," the manager said. "I want to offer my deepest and sincerest apologies to the U.S. Marines involved."
The experience highlighted the importance of service dogs. According to the VA, service dogs differ from pets or comfort animals because "they are specially trained to perform tasks or work for a specific individual with a disability who cannot perform the task or accomplish the work independently."
Additionally, according to the American with Disabilities Act, any person with a disability is allowed to bring their service animal into businesses that serve the public. The ADA says "the service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility."
There are few exceptions to the ADA's laws regarding service animals. A business is allowed to ask a service animal to leave, in compliance with the ADA, is if the animal's behavior poses a direct threat the health or safety of others.
The Holiday Bar said they want to share their experience with other restaurants in the area so they can also learn about how service dogs help veterans.
The restaurant said they reached out to the Veteran involved in the incident and opened a dialogue about resolving the situation.
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