Fredrick Altman thought he was just going for a burger with his family at Hodad’s on May 17.
But what should have been a lunch out on a beautiful day at the beach, turned into a nasty video accusing the staff at Hodad’s of discrimination of a man with his service dog.
Altman posted the video on an Ocean Beach Facebook group and pointed out that he was “told to leave” by the waitstaff at the popular restaurant. He told this reporter on the phone that, “I was physically shoved out with their hands on my back by an employee there.” He further told me that, “I was never asked if my dog was a service dog but I was just rudely told to leave and that it was just too small in there for his dog.”
“I walked in there with my sister, her husband, and my mother.” When he was told he and the dog had to leave, he stated, “I was upset that my sister and her husband decided to stay,” This can be heard on the video. He stood outside Hodad’s with his mother, pointing his camera at the counter which faces the street and began recording. You can hear him say to his mother in the video, “My Mom is always telling me I’m wrong.” His German shepherd, wearing a service dog vest, was at his side.
When messaging him privately on Facebook, I asked him what his service dog was for. He then sent me a note from his doctor on her script pad, showing that he suffers from PTSD, ADHD and a bi polar disorder. I then asked him if his dog was an emotional support animal. He said yes. I then queried him on the ADA (American Disabilities Act) rules about an ESA (Emotional Support Animal). “You do realize that you can’t bring an emotional support animal into a public place that doesn’t allow animals other than a legitimate service animal for a physically disabled person, right?” He didn’t answer me directly on that one and just went on about how he was mistreated and was going to get a lawyer.
I then went over to Hodad’s and talked to one of the managers and company president of the burger joint, Jeremy Diem, and was told a very different story. I spoke with the manager/server on duty that day, who waited on him before he was asked to leave. The server on duty, is six months pregnant and asked to remain anonymous. She told me, “His dog was out of control. We sat the party and that dog jumped up with his front paws on the table several times. He was barking and when we said you can’t do that in here and asked him to leave, the dog refused to move, and he started dragging him out. The dog then went a little crazy and bumped into a chair holding an infant in a baby seat, and the mother had to grab her kid so he wouldn’t fall to the floor. He was never pushed by anybody.”
Jeremy told me, “We offered to accommodate him with a seat outside that faces the counter, as long as you’re not drinking alcohol. He refused. I don’t know what more we could have done. We have service animals in here all the time. A real service animal doesn’t move, sits quietly and obeys. This dog was out of control.” Diem further stated, “we know what questions to ask, but this guy couldn’t seem to answer them. You could tell this was not a trained service animal which are always welcome here.”
The Facebook thread on this subject has grown quite lengthy with nothing but support for Hodad’s and some pretty nasty comments regarding Fredrick and his dog.
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