Outrage after Aussie restaurant refused service to a war veteran over his service dog
- Veteran of Iraq and Syria tours denied entry to restaurant
- He went to the Perth location with his service dog Gunner
A restaurant is under fire after denying entry to a decorated war veteran who uses a service dog to help him deal with PTSD and a brain injury he suffered in Iraq.
David Pearce, originally from the US, has served in the Navy for 20 years and has been living in Perth with his wife for just over a year.
He said his dog Gunner, whom he has had for nine years, “saved his life more than once,” but when he took him to Juicy Bao Bao in the city’s interior this weekend, the pair were denied entry.
David Pearce, a former Marine and his dog Gunner, who helps him with his PTSD and brain injuries he suffered while touring in Iraq
Mr Pearce said he felt ‘humiliated’ after his wife and her friend were shown to their table, but staff tried to ‘block’ him when they saw Gunner.
He added that it was the first time he and Gunner had been denied entry anywhere after explaining he was a service dog.
“There was a lot of scare, a lot of embarrassment – it’s never happened before that they knew it was a service dog,” Mr Pearce said. 7News.
“There were quite a few people in the restaurant and some people were laughing… It was humiliating, especially since it was in front of my wife and her friends.”
In Australia it is illegal to discriminate against anyone using a certified service dog.
Mr Pearce said Gunner not only helps him calm down when his PTSD gets too much, but he has also been trained to look after his physical well-being.
He explained that he has a traumatic brain injury from explosions in Iraq, which can cause him to have “dissociative episodes” where he is unaware of what he is doing and that Gunnar is trained to avoid doing anything dangerous, such as in traffic to walk.
“Assistance dogs are a necessary medical device and companion for people with disabilities, enabling them to function as closely as possible to ordinary people,” he said.
Mr. Pearce was in the US Marines for 20 years and has been living in Perth for a little over a year now
The Perth restaurant has since apologized and said Mr Pearce and Gunner are welcome
Juicy Bao Bao’s Northbridge manager said she made a mistake not letting Mr. Pearce and Gunner in and has offered him a free meal and an assurance that they are welcome.
Mr Pearce said he would likely return to the restaurant to demonstrate that guide dogs can do their job in public without bothering anyone else.
He also encouraged people not to leave negative comments about the restaurant, as they have acknowledged they were wrong and said assistance dogs are welcome.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Juicy Bao Bao for comment.