Gastonia veteran speaks out about service dog trouble at restaurant

Gastonia veteran speaks out about service dog trouble at restaurant

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - Logan Wesley was just trying to have dinner with his family this past week. It was his birthday and he wanted to celebrate.

His family went to eat at Don Pedro Mexican Restaurant in Gastonia. However, Wesley was alarmed when an employee didn't want his service dog to enter the building.

Wesley served for several years as a marine, and completed multiple tours of duty overseas. He said he did sustain some injuries in combat and has dealt with PTSD since his days in the military. He said his service dog, Racha, helps him cope.

He said the employee at Don Pedro was not being friendly towards him and his family.

"They tried to seat me by the door or outside and I wasn't having it," said Wesley.

He and his family went to eat elsewhere. The restaurant altercation left him upset, and now he is trying to raise awareness about service dogs and where they are allowed. He said his service dog can legally go almost anywhere with him.

"If I can get you know the word out as much as I can as a trainer myself and a handler, I think it will benefit the community," said Wesley.

He said that an owner of the restaurant has since apologized about the incident. WBTV spoke to one of the owners in an interview Tuesday.

"I got so ashamed and surprised by it and I took action about it right away," said Don Pedro co-owner Edgar Michel.

Michel said service dogs are allowed in the restaurant and he doesn't understand why his employee turned Wesley away. Michel said that the particular employee who spoke to Wesley is now no longer with the restaurant.

Wesley said he's found that other people don't realize it's legal to bring a service dog into a business. He hopes that speaking out about his experience will change that, and more people will learn about the special animals.

"There are a lot of veterans coming back with service dogs that need them so you're probably going to see a lot more of them because they do help. (Racha's) better than medication for me," said Wesley.

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