Army vet Richard Hunter, service dog denied entry at Paterson Subway restaurant

Army vet Richard Hunter says his life changed

Army vet Richard Hunter says his life changed about six weeks ago when a nonprofit gave him a trained service dog. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

PATERSON - A man who went for lunch with his son and a service dog was asked to leave a Subway restaurant in Paterson on Saturday.

Army vet Richard Hunter says his life changed about six weeks ago when a nonprofit gave him a trained service dog. The German Shepherd, named Bonner, helps Hunter cope with PTSD.

"The main thing he does for me is keep me calm and helps me become a little more social when I am out and about," Hunter says. 

Mitul Ahmed, an employee at the Subway, told him the dog was not allowed. 

Hunter says he pointed out Bonner's vest and told Ahmed that as a service animal, the dog should be allowed to stay.

Ahmed says he didn't believe Bonner was a service dog, and the store manager says he was too big for the restaurant and was making customers uncomfortable.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses that serve the public must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities. A business can ask someone to remove a service animal if it is out of control or if it poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.  

Hunter says Bonner was well-behaved. After serving the country, he feels like he's been slapped in the face.

"I was severely embarrassed and humiliated," Hunter says. "I was just trying to have lunch with my son, who I haven't had lunch with in years."

Police were called to the scene to resolve the dispute. According to the police report, the manager eventually offered to serve Hunter, but he declined.

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