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Dogs & Laws

Man and His Service Dog Kicked Out of Taco Bell

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For the past 11 years, truck driver Pete Kleckner of Minnesota has been traveling with his loyal service dog, Snickers, a 13-year old German Shepherd/Akita mix that helps him to hear. While Pete isn’t entirely deaf, he has been wearing hearing aids since the age of 11, and Snickers is an important part of his life. When his alarm clock goes off, Snickers wakes up Pete. She also alerts Pete to strangers approaching his truck.

 

Under federal law, as stated in the Americans With Disabilities Act, privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

But, last Wednesday, a Taco Bell restaurant in Jessup, Maryland, Pete was approached by the manager who asked him to leave, saying they don’t allow dogs inside the restaurant. The manager threatened to call the police if Pete didn’t leave, despite seeing Snickers’ orange service dog vest.

“I said to her go for it, she’s a service dog. It’s protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,” Kleckner told ABC News.

However, when police arrived, they sided with the restaurant, forcing Pete and Snickers to leave the premises, even following them back to the industrial park where his truck sat waiting for his next load.

Taco Bell’s district manager has since apologized to Kleckner.

If you were Pete Kleckner in this story, what would you do?

71 Comments

71 Comments

  1. Bob Green

    Aug 13, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Wow. Yes… both Taco Hell and the Police were in the wrong. Yes, they should both apologize in writing, which may have already been done for all we know and people already been disciplined. But reading all these comments? Sue, sue, sue!!
    No wonder America is the laughing stock of other nations. That’s all we think about is how and when to sue. Seriously?

  2. Darla Walkin

    Aug 11, 2013 at 3:44 am

    wow, a lot of insensitivity from a few here. Why assume the dog was a ‘mutt’ or smelly? It would have been far worse to leave the service dog in the truck, and would leave him open to a fine and possible jail time for cruelty to animals if it was too hot in the truck.
    The service dog is allowed where he goes, so why should he have thought to leave the dog behind? I am not sure Taco Bell needs to be sued, nor the police… but perhaps a letter writing campaign to the corporate office and the chief of police might make them make a move to educate their staff and personnel to the law concerning service animals in public places. The service dogs I’ve met were clean, and more well behaved than most children.

  3. Mr Keith Schatz

    Aug 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

    What a bunch of morons you people are (a hearing dog, get a grip ) I’m pretty sure that old pete could get by with out the mutt for a while so he could go eat. This service animal crap has gotten way out of hand. Any normal person doesn’t want to eat with a stinking mutt sitting beside him I applaud Taco bell for the courage to use a little common sense.

  4. Cee

    Aug 10, 2013 at 11:07 am

    There is no lawsuit here. The man has not been harmed and there are no damages to collect. It’s also wrong to blame Taco Bell as a whole for the ignorance of the one manager. Mr. Kleckner’s event, while unfortunate at the time, has helped to educate many on the ADA and service dogs, and will help prevent this type of incident from occuring in the future. Mr Kleckner, however, was not injured in any manner warranting a lawsuit. I do think Taco Bell should be gracious and offer Mr. Kleckner some type of compensation, such as free food for a year, in the way of an apology.

  5. Linda Hansen

    Aug 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I have decided to boycott Taco Bell. My brother is blind and has a seeing eye dog. Service dogs have a right to be in everywhere the companion is as they are the eyes,ears,and sometimes a voice for them.
    The manager apologized, but weher was he when the guy was booted? This is crazy,maybe it’s because you dit have the taco bell dog.

  6. Attila the Honey

    Jul 16, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I think everyone missed the point. Why would anyone visit a Taco Bell?

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