DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Controversy surrounds a national restaurant chain in Daytona Beach accused of telling two disabled veterans they couldn't eat there with their guide dogs, which is against the law.
Vietnam War veterans David Cissell Sr. and friend Mark Lane rely on their guide dogs, because both men are legally blind.
But when the two tried to have lunch at Joe's Crab Shack on the Daytona Beach pier Wednesday, they said an employee and then the manager told them they couldn't have their guide dogs in the restaurant.
"It's discrimination," said Cissell. "We fought for our country. Our friends died for our country, and we still have to put up with this?"
Cissell said they were then asked to leave the premises.
"I said, 'These are guide dogs, trained guide dogs, and you're making us leave?" said Cissell.
"It just hurts," said Lane. "He made me feel like a fool. I'm not a fool."
The U.S. Department of Justice said a restaurant "may not insist on proof" of state certification before allowing a service animal to accompany a person with a disability.
"I tried for three days to get a hold of Joe Crab Shack's corporate office, and they would not call me back until today, after you called them," Cissell told Channel 9's Lori Brown.
But Cissell said he isn't sure the corporation, Ignite Restaurant Group, has learned its lesson.
"Fire the manager," said Cissell. "Corporate should try to do something about this instead of offering me a free meal. I don't want no free meal."
Joe’s Crab Shack released the following statement to WFTV:
“Although we always welcome service dogs in our restaurants, in this case we had to ask the guest to leave because his dogs were barking and disturbing our other guests."