Houston bar doubles down after refusing entry to service dog

Originally published at: Houston bar doubles down after refusing entry to service dog | Boing Boing


I have complicated feelings about this.

  1. There is a distinction between service animals and “emotional support animals.” I think the bar would have been within their rights to refuse admittance to an emotional-support animal, but don’t quote me on that. A lot of people are unclear on this distinction (including people with emotional-support animals). A PTSD service animal is a real thing, though.
  2. A lot of people abuse the system by claiming their pets are emotional-support animals. They find a compliant psychologist to write them a note and they’re done. This has spoiled things for people with legit emotional-support and service animals alike.
  3. This bar owner is not clear on what a public accommodation is, and is probably an asshole.
  4. The preacher is probably an asshole for wanting to go into a bar to pester people with his religion.

The dog is most likely the only “non-asshole” in this whole story.


There’s also the simple answers that make sense such as the bar owner could have bad allergies, and rights are not meant to trample on others.

This is a “what if” that does not apply here obviously, but universal condemnation or praise of service animals doesn’t really work.


“We were there for a purpose,” Miller added. “We have a ministry that we do. We were taking the gospel into the bar. I respected what [the employee] said, and I went out.”

I think turning a privately owned bar into a public pulpit without the owner’s permission would have been justification enough to turn him away even if his dog was a legally recognized service animal.


I’ve known and encountered hundreds of the sort of people who would walk into a bar to preach at people. They don’t tend to be very honest or reality-oriented people.


Shit. I don’t really go to bars anymore, but if someone did that to me I’d be like, leave me alone, I’m praying. Can’t you see I’m taking the Eucharist?


This sort of asshole is just one step down from the Westboro Baptist crowd.


I do confess that when a white Christian minister in the American Bible Belt claims to be a victim of discrimination I tend to take their claims with a grain of salt…


Everything you said sounds perfectly legit, and not “complicated” at all.


In many places, just having a sign in a business that states: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” is a code violation.

But this is Texas.


It would be funny if they wanted to kick him out for proselytizing, but mistakenly though that would have been illegal because everyone has to respect “free speech”

Okay, but what about slurred speech? /s




Yeah, even “I don’t like you” would work. They screwed themselves by making it about the dog.


They are wrong, of course. By public accomodations, it means any accomodation that serves the public can’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or since the ADA disability.

Yes it is. Hence, they are breaking the law. This is pretty simple and clear cut case. Maybe we need to build public spaces that are accessible to all people, no matter what they are struggling with.

they could have kicked him out for that, as the OP noted, but instead they focused on the thing that is against the law.

In this case, though it seems to be true and the bar seems to back up his claim that he’s been barred for his service animal. They just don’t want to be seen as being anti-Christian.

Dean Norris Reaction GIF by CBS


I mean…why not go to the source? :man_shrugging:

Q3. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

A . No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.

Q7. What questions can a covered entity’s employees ask to determine if a dog is a service animal?

A . In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.


What She Said GIF by The Free Mama


That’s a bigger negative for conservative Texans than actually breaking a law that protects the disabled.


Even then, they could’ve been way smarter about it. Just say you don’t allow solicitation from outside parties. That’s pretty common.

ETA: excellent point, @Mindysan33 ! There’s the rub.


A bar that I used to visit had a sign indicating “We reserve the right to serve refuse to anyone”