We are grateful to MyFox8 for covering Marine veteran Nick Cox's encounter with a Circle K manager who refused service to Cox, who was accompanied byRalphie, his Canine Angels Service Dog. All our veterans are coached on the best way to handle these situations, which come up all too frequently. The veteran will always remain polite, calm, and non-confrontational. He or she will gladly invite law enforcement and media to the scene to sort it out.
Rick Kaplan prepares veterans for these situations. There is still widespread ignorance of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its protection of disabled Americans with service animals. You can imagine how a Marine who served our country in wartime – leaving his safe home, wife and young children, with no guarantee he'd return alive – must feel when his basic rights are refused.
Part of our mission is education. If you witness a service dog and handler having trouble in a public place, please tell responding officers what you saw and heard. That would be an enormous help to our veterans and a great way to say "thanks".
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Marine veteran said he was asked to leave a gas station in Charlotte Monday morning after he walked in with his service dog.
Nick Cox told WSOC that his dog Ralphy helps stabilize him and calm him down, helping with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Cox said the manager of the Circle K on Sunset Road asked him to leave and wouldn’t let him finish his purchase.
Cox had to call the police, who told the store manager he and his dog have every right to be there.
“It made me feel very upset, a little angry, because this is the country I fought for,” Cox said.
The store manager said Cox didn’t present paperwork, like a badge, for his service dog at first, and that’s why he asked him to leave.
The law states he doesn’t have to. According to federal law, a person just has to say that this is a service dog, and what service they provide, to be allowed into any establishment.
Cox just hopes it doesn’t happen again to him or any anyone else who needs a dog to overcome a disability.
“I was shocked to see Americans could be this ignorant to a service animal,” Cox said.
Federal law also states business owners can only refuse to allow service animals when the animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.