- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2015

National restaurant chain Houlihan’s has fired a local manager for refusing to a seat an Army veteran because of his service dog.

Garrett Loughran, 32, and his 5-year-old labradoodle, Hershey, were denied service on Sunday at Houlihan’s in the Chicago suburb of Algonquin, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Mr. Loughran’s mother, Laura Wills, who was with her son that day, said a hostess and her manager questioned the need for a service dog in the restaurant and eventually determined that the dog would not be allowed inside.

Ms. Will said they went to another restaurant nearby without a fuss, but she wrote about the ordeal on Facebook, receiving thousands of shares and likes.

Amy Fasholt-Fisher, vice president of operations for Houlihan’s Restaurant Group, apologized to the family and explained that the manager, who had been employed at the restaurant about two years, has been fired. The restaurant is also making a $2,000 donation to Pets for Vets, the Tribune reported.

“We are sincerely apologetic for the lack of respect and compassion that this veteran and his family experienced in our restaurant,” Ms. Fasholt-Fisher said.

It is company policy that service dogs are always welcome in all 100 Houlihan’s restaurants throughout the country, she said.

Mr. Loughran, his parents and Hershey, at Houlihan’s request, went back to the restaurant on Monday, the Tribune reported.

“They were very nice people, very understanding and very forgiving,” Ms. Fasholt-Fisher said.

She said they “had a nice conversation” with the veteran and his family, who came up with the donation idea on their own.

Mr. Loughran said he believes the company is sincere in its apology. He said he’s thankful the situation has raised awareness for a better understanding of PTSD and service dogs, the Tribune reported.

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