Clerk could face discipline for denying entrance to veteran's se - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Clerk could face discipline for denying entrance to veteran's service dog

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A national convenience store chain could take disciplinary action against a clerk who denied entry to a service dog accompanying a veteran who wanted a cup of coffee last week.

A spokesperson for Circle K Stores says the company began looking into the issue the day after David Long says his dog, Harry, was not allowed to go with him into the store on Two Notch Road.

"This was a clear violation of company policy," said Paula Crowe.

The response came a day after WIS reported on the incident.

Long suffers from PTSD after a long military career, which includes almost being killed in Iraq and serving on a search and recovery team at the Pentagon after 9/11.

Long visited the store on March 18 for a cup of joe. "The clerk noticed Harry, didn't see his vest, and said, 'You're going to have to take your dog outside,'" said Long. "I said, 'He is a certified service dog, it's legal for him to be in here, so that's the way it's gonna' be,' and she didn't want to hear it. She said 'Obviously you're not blind, so he needs to wait outside.'"

Long said he continued to try to explain. The clerk, however, called her manager and the cops were called.

"One deputy went in to talk to the lady, the other sat with me and told me unfortunately they have to deal with this all the time," said Long.

Long admits he got a little worked up, but was able to keep from completely losing his cool because of his PTSD training and because Harry was at his side."

"He's a comfort for me," said Long. "He can sense the nervousness. He has a calming effect."

Today, being in public is a constant, nervous struggle, made worse by people who don't know how much veterans like Long need companions like Harry.
 
"It was a minor setback for me," said Long. "But fortunately I have medications, I have Harry to help me out. I think this is just the beginning."

Long said he hopes this story will be educational and help prevent conflicts like this in the future.

The Long's intend to file a complaint with the Department of Justice, which handles issues dealing with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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