Michigan Bar Apologizes For Kicking Out Vet And His Service Dog

Bryan Michalek | November 13, 2017

A bar in Grand Rapids, Mich., is facing the tough task of having to apologize for asking a veteran and his service dog to leave. 

The veteran, Jerome Smith, was asked to leave The Holiday Bar last Friday. Smith told Fox News that he brings his service dog, Jo-Jo, with him to help him cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder. Smith's PTSD came on from his time as a U.S. Marine. 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Smith was allowed to be inside the bar with his dog, but businesses are allowed to ask owners to take their dogs outside if they believe the animals' behavior may pose a threat to others.

In Smith's interview with Fox, he added, "I explained to them, 'That's not legal. That's not right. You can't do that.'"

The Holiday Bar's staff claimed they were concerned for the safety of the dog and others who were in the bar at the time, claiming that the large crowd spurned their decision to ask Smith and his service animal to leave. 

Later, the bar staff posted an apology on its Facebook page. They wrote:

We had a very unsettling incident late Friday evening at our establishment that we are ashamed of and very sorry for. Some of you may have heard bits and pieces and or have been made aware of this. 
Although the decisions that were that night were made out of concern for all involved, it is clear that the wrong decisions were made. For this we are deeply sorry, we know we can’t change what happened but are hopeful we can learn from this. We employ men of armed services, both active and ex, and have nothing but upmost respect and admiration for them and all that serve. 
On behalf of all at the holiday Bar we would like to express our deepest apologies for all the pain this has caused.

In addition, the bar also said it would donate all of its sales from Nov. 12 to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. The bar told Fox that it hopes the contribution will assist in raising awareness about service animals and the crucial role they play in helping veterans cope with life after the military. 

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(Image source: Jerome Smith, Facebook)