WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wyoming veteran is facing criminal assault charges in Florida after a hotel operator tried kicking him out for having a service dog.
When Jason White tried to stay at a Best Western with the service dog, the hotel manager tried forcing the family and the service dog out.
He lashed out, kicking a TV and shoving the manager. White is now facing criminal assault charges.
Camo is White’s new service dog; he is being trained to help White who was injured in Afghanistan and has been diagnosed post-traumatic distress disorder.
White brought his family to southwest Florida from Michigan to meet Camo during his last days of training. But he says they ran into trouble when trying to book a room at other hotels.
“Once she said they had a service dog, she’d come up with an excuse that there is no room, that they did not have a room available,” White said.
Jason Quick, an attorney specializing in the Americans with Disabilities Act, says the White family was treated unfairly by those hotels.
“Service animals are supposed to be allowed into any business or area where the general public is allowed to be,” said Quick.
According to federal ADA standards, service dogs do not need certification or paperwork, and don’t even formal training to do their jobs.
“[Under Title III of the ADA], there is no requirement that the animal be certified or that the person carry papers or documents to substantiate their disability or the service animal itself,” Quick said.
But Quick adds giving the hotel a heads up about a service dog is a good idea.
“Certainly it would be helpful to let them know ahead of time to prevent any embarrassing or stress inducting confrontation,” Quick said.
Both the hotel and the White family tell 24 Hour News 8 Camo was staying at the Best Western without the hotel’s knowledge.
But neither side agrees on why the family was kicked out. White claims it’s because the hotel’s general manager found out about the dog when Camo got sick.
“It’s not more about the service animal, it was more about the guest,” said Vinnie Patel, the hotel’s general manager.
The White family told 24 Hour News 8 they found a hotel that will let them stay while they work out the legal issues.