LAS VEGAS (KTNV/CNN) - Burger chain Smashburger says it’s conducting an internal investigation after a family claims they were kicked out of a location in Las Vegas because they had a service dog with them.
What was supposed to be a quick bite to eat turned into a much bigger ordeal for Megan Moon and her family.
Moon’s 9-year-old son is diabetic and has a specially-trained service dog named Medic, who alerts when the boy’s blood sugar is out of whack. The family, dog included, went to a Las Vegas Smashburger location.
"All of a sudden, we are about done with our order, the manager walks up, and she says, 'I see you have a dog. He's not allowed to be in our store; we don't allow pets. You're going to have to eat outside,’” Moon said.
Moon says she tried to explain Medic is a medical alert service dog.
"ADA law states that we can be here; he's protected under the law. She said, 'I'm not allowing this to happen. Let's not make a big deal about it,' and I said, 'I am going to make a big deal about it,'" Moon said.
Moon says the manager ended up deleting their order from the register and tossed the family out of the restaurant.
"We were embarrassed. There were other people in the restaurant looking at us like we were causing a scene. They were looking at us like we had done something wrong,” Moon said.
The U.S. Department of Justice has explained some guidelines when it comes to service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act:
A service animal is defined as a dog trained to do work or perform tasks for someone with a disability. The dog does not have to professionally trained or certified. It also does not have to wear a vest or patch identifying it as a service animal.
In rare cases, a business or entity can refuse entry to a service animal, such as if the dog is out of control, barking repeatedly or causing a serious disruption.
Otherwise, a business can only legally ask if the animal is a service animal and what task it performs.
Moon says the manager at Smashburger did not ask either of those questions, and Medic was well-behaved, even sleeping during the encounter.
Smashburger released a statement saying it launched an internal investigation into the incident and “will use this opportunity to reinforce our policies around service animals.”