Questioning service dog causes problems for local restaurant

Questioning Service Dog Causes Problems For Local Restaurant

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Threats from across the country have flooded the Facebook page of a Mid-South restaurant. The manager says it all stems from a mistake about a service dog.

The owner of Sidecar café thought he was within his rights asking proof the dog brought into his restaurant was really a service dog. He found out he was wrong and boy is he paying for it.

"I think the whole thing was blown out of proportion," said owner Mike Robilio.

Mike Robilio, owner of Sidecar Café on Whitten Road can't believe what happened after he asked a customer to prove her dog was a service dog for the disabled.

"Now my Facebook is loaded with threats from people calling my employees and threatening them," he said.

Robilio says the woman and her husband sat at this table.

"She told my manager her dog was a service dog for her arthritis. The lady did not look like she was disabled," he said.

The manager summoned Robilio.

"I asked her do you have any type of registration. She tells me I have violated her rights trying to make her show some type of I.D," he said.

Robilio said she kept trying to make him look up information on her rights. He said it was okay for her to stay with the dog and he would find out if he was right to ask for the ID. He said he went to his office and she had her dog handler call.  Robilio said the woman is apparently a veteran who also has PTSD.

Robilio admitted the dog was wearing a vest but said he did not see it clearly. He said he found out later what the Americans With Disabilities Act requires. The manager can ask if the animal is for medical purposes and and what the medical reason is.

Robilio has a message for the woman.

"I would tell her I'm sorry the issue escalated to where it was over something I thought was rectified," he said.

Mike Robilio says he did not ask the woman to leave. He points out they told the server the food was good. I reached out to the woman but have not heard back from her.

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