MB family denied entrance with service dog

Published: Aug. 3, 2012 at 11:18 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2012 at 4:38 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A local family is speaking out after being refused service when they brought their Service Dog to dinner Thursday night.

The Campman family was heading out to Osaka Buffet to celebrate mom's birthday when they say they were stopped at the door by a manager. The manager asked if their service dog, Charlie, was a Seeing Eye Dog. Charlie is not a Seeing Eye Dog, but is a Service Dog.

Charlie is trained to signal when his owner may have a seizure.

"He is there to help break a fall, for comfort…I am very combative when I come to, he's there to keep me calm," explains Matt Campman, Charlie's owner.

Campman needs to have Charlie with him at all times, which is why the service animal was with the family for their dinner Thursday night. The Campman's say the staff at Osaka Buffet stopped the family on their way to the table and said if Charlie was not a Seeing Eye Dog, then he was not allowed in.

"There are dogs for so many different conditions, it's just frustrating that people aren't aware of that," says Campman.

The manager of Osaka Buffet says it is a misunderstanding. Since the restaurant has had complaints before, they require all service animals to stay in a side dining room, away from the open food at the buffet.

Advocates for Service Dogs say a licensed Service Animal is allowed anywhere public is allowed. Campman's wife says she explained to the staff that even though Charlie is not a Seeing Eye Dog he is allowed to enter under the law.

"We carry a card with Charlie's ID and his tasks and things that he does for Matt. So I pulled it out, but at that point we were obviously not going to stay," says Jackie Campman.

The family says the whole ordeal was frustrating and people were in line behind them, so they decided to leave.

"I felt really embarrassed…having my children have to feel that way. You know, how do they feel? Having to leave a restaurant because of me. Feeling like it's my fault," shares Campman.

The family is not looking for any financial gain, they say they want to share their story in order to spread awareness and educate other people.

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