SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A black lab named Hilton keeps James Malone safe when he's out. Blind his entire life, James says he's always been able to take his service dog into restaurants. When James and his family walked with Hilton into Sun Sky Indian Restaurant in South Sacramento, he says the manager kicked them out.
"No dog. Get out. Just get out," he recalls hearing.
Disability Rights Attorney Robert Borelle says according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, restaurants and stores can only ask for service dogs to leave for certain reasons.
"If the animal is out of control and it appears that owner can't regain control or if that animal is not housebroken," he said.
James insists his dog Hilton didn't fit either category.
We wanted to see for ourselves how this same restaurant would respond to a service dog. With our hidden cameras rolling, we sent Mike, another blind person with his service dog into Sun Sky Restaurant. The worker sees the dog, and then talks to someone behind the curtain.
"No, they said you can't bring your dog inside," the worker told Mike.
Mike pushed back quoting the law.
"It says I can bring my dog in to any restaurant," he said.
Eventually, she gave in.
"I don't mind it, you can sit," she said.
Under California law, Borelle says a person denied access could sue for up to $4,000 for each violation.
CBS13 reached out to Sun Sky. An owner admitted to us they "really don't know too much" about ADA laws and added they "feel sorry" for how they treated James and Mike. They assured us, "We'll treat our workers about the laws."
It's all James wanted.
"They need to follow the rules," he said.
For more information on service dogs, head to this website: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
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