"According to Lee County Sheriff's reports, a restaurant employee told Jorgenson he could not be there with the 80-pound yellow Labrador and told him to leave. Jorgenson met with a deputy that night and filed a criminal complaint nearly two weeks later April 18.
"They were concerned about health violations, but it's a Seeing Eye dog, so where the owner goes, the dog goes," said sheriff's spokesman Angelo Vaughn.
"You feel like a second-class citizen, really," Jorgenson said Thursday. "It's really a form of discrimination."
Florida law allows guide dogs to be granted access anywhere the public is allowed, including restaurants, public transportation and shopping malls. Violating the law is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in county jail or six months probation and a $500 fine.
Guide dog access is also protected by federal laws stemming from the Americans With Disabilities Act"
Here is a more recent article regarding dogs, restaurants, and outdoor dining:
"With lawmakers barking in the background, the Florida House gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would allow dogs all across Florida to dine outdoors with their masters at restaurants.
Under the measure (SB 1172), cities and counties would be allowed to issue dog-dining permits to restaurants for three years. After that, the practice will be evaluated.
Because of health concerns, current Florida law prevents dogs from eating with their humans at restaurants. But the ban is sporadically enforced."
WaiterBell Angle: Regarding the first article, this is from the U.S. Dept. of Justice web site:
"Q: I have always had a clearly posted "no pets" policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?
A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean you must abandon your "no pets" policy altogether but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.
The second article is an example of how restaurants are adapting to customer habits (i.e. bringing their dog) to increase customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and gain a competitive edge. WaiterBell is very effective in outdoor dining situations. It allows customers (those with or without dogs) to enjoy your food in the outdoors with the assurance that the waitstaff is just one touch away.