Veteran using service dog denied service at local restaurant

Local News

A veteran with PTSD says the Duff’s in Orchard Park denied him service because of his service dog. It is against the law to discriminate against anyone with a service dog.

“Not all wounds are visible. Some of us have other issues and the dogs help us. You have no idea how much this dog helps me,” said Brandon Ruzbacki.
For Brandon Ruzbacki, his dog Murphy isn’t just a four-legged friend.
“It literally terrifies me to be in a crowded room,” said Ruzbacki.

Murphy is his service dog and is always right by his side.

So when they went together to Duff’s in Orchard Park on Monday, he was shocked when the owner told him Murphy wasn’t allowed.
“He told me he was not going to let me in here with my dog because he’s a sanitation risk and what if he bites somebody,” said Ruzbacki.

Ruzbacki showed the owner this card explaining Murphy is a service animal, but legally he doesn’t have to show anything and Murphy isn’t required to wear a service vest.

According to the Americans with Disabilites Act, a service animal is any dog that is individually trained to work for the benefit of someone with a disability and that can be a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or mental disability.

By law, business owners can only ask two questions.
“Is this a service dog and what service does he provide for you. and my response is yes he is a service dog and i have PTSD and that’s all i have to tell anyone,” said Ruzbacki.

Ruzbacki posted about it on Facebook and since then, Duff’s has received a lot of backlash.

The owner, Philip Kinecki, says two people tried to come in with their family pets just days earlier.
“I should’ve known the rules and I didn’t exactly understand the difference between the dog designations and what it means to be a service dog and now that I do I feel even worse,” said Philip Kinecki, the owner of Duff’s in Orchard Park.

Kinecki admits he made a mistake and has reached out to Ruzbacki to apologize.
“I just felt horrible. you know i respect veterans and I don’t want to do anything to hurt a veteran especially someone who needs a service dog,” said Kinecki.

Kinecki says he hopes to use his mistake to help educate others, so this doesn’t happen anywhere else.

“That they want to go shopping, want to go to eat, any place they want to go they can get in and there should be no trouble,” said Kinecki.

“If he wants to make it right, sponsor a dog for a vet, that’s how you make it right and you’ll see what happens when a vet ges a dog, and what it means to that vet,” said Ruzbacki.

Ruzbacki says it’s overwhelming to see all of the support for him. He says many other restaurants and businesses have reached out.

Kinecki says he believes this incident may hurt his business but he says he’s learned from this mistake.

The corporate Duff’s has issued an apology and says it will re-train its staff on the law.

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