A disabled veteran is in the news after being kicked out of a Best Western hotel in Bonita Springs because of his service dog. The veteran is now also facing criminal charges.
Jason White was wounded during a 2012 tour in Afghanistan, including spine & brain injuries and severe PTSD. Jason and his family traveled with Camo, his service dog on a recent trip. After checking in to a Best Western in Bonita Springs, the dog started vomiting after eating something found on the floor of the room. After asking the hotel manager what the dog may have eaten, Jason says the manager got angry and demanded that he get his sick dog and family off the property. The manager said that because the dog didn’t have a certificate for the dog he didn’t want him in his hotel.
The ADA does not require that certificates be carried for service animals, and once Jason was given the news that they were not welcome he lost it, pushed the manager and kicked a TV. The hotel manager pressed charges for battery and destruction of property.
Jason’s wife took their sick dog to an emergency vet. After several hours the dog was well enough to travel, and the family (minus Jason) checked into a nearby Holiday Express in Fort Myers. The hotel does not accept pets but welcomed the service animal with no issue. The manager of the Holiday Inn Express also took up a collection from local pet shops and restaurants for the White family to use during their time of racking up unexpected costs.
Click here to watch a news channel’s video about the incident.
When service animals are present at an establishment where pets are not, there are two questions that the proprietor or owner is legally allowed to ask. They are, “Is this a service animal?” and “What is the dog trained to assist you with?” I’m not sure where the breakdown in communication was between the Whites and the hotel manager but it doesn’t seem that the hotel was made aware of the service animal during check-in which would have been ideal.
Obviously there are two sides to each story and the manager indicates in the video that it wasn’t so much the animal that was the issue, but the animal owner. It isn’t clear in the video though what the owner did that upset the hotel manager and prompted him to ask them to leave.