Iraq veteran with service dog asked to leave - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Iraq veteran with service dog asked to leave Cedar Park restaurant

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Home-style cooking is what the "1431 Cafe" in Cedar Park serves up.  While Saturday's lunch crowd cleaned their plates, outside protestors encouraged people to never come back.

Jeremy Kennard is a disabled veteran.  He did 2 tours of Iraq in the Army.

He suffers from PTSD so he has a service dog -- 3 year-old Athena.

In late January, he and his wife sat down in a booth at 1431 Cafe.

"My dog sat right next to me because my dog can't fit under the booths due to the table layout and how they're supported," he said.

That's when Kennard says the manager came over.

"'Your dog needs to fit underneath the table.'  I told him that my dog cannot fit.  And he was like 'Well if your dog can't fit then you're gonna have to be leaving,'" Kennard said.

Scotty Stroup owns the cafe.  He says the manager working that night did ask Kennard to move his dog out of the aisle.

"He needed to put his dog underneath...because it's blocking the aisle.  If you step on a little dog's hand, he's gonna bite you.  But when we asked him if we could move him, he said 'no'...he was staying right there," Stroup said.

Stroup says the manager did ask him to leave.

That's when Kennard started spreading the word about boycotting the restaurant.

"After he left, he posted stuff on Facebook and everywhere he could post his comments about us being against service dogs and vets.  I'm a vet!  I'm not against vets or service dogs," Stroup said.

Nicole Allen is also boycotting the restaurant for a similar situation.  She says the same manager that kicked Kennard out also scolded her after her 2 year old threw a fit.

"As we were walking out, the manager came out and told me that he received some complaints against me and that if I ever decided to go out with my child again, maybe I should just stay at home," Allen said.

Kennard is a student at Texas Tech studying social work with a focus on helping veterans.

He says the purpose of his protest is to educate the public.

"We have PTSD.  We have TBI.  We're coming back with legs that are gone.  And we have service dogs to take care of that.  We should be treated fairly, with respect," Kennard said.

"I'm a vet!  Honorably discharged.  Served my country...just like he did!  But I don't have an ax to grind," Stroup said.

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