Veteran Claims Wendy’s Denied Service Dog in Columbia County


Buckhorn, Columbia County — An Iraq War veteran said a manager of a fast food restaurant gave him a hard time about bringing his service dog into the building.

Patrick Welsh has post traumatic stress disorder, and his Australian Cattle Dog named Snip helps him cope with the condition.

The Columbia County man said Snip wears a vest that identifies her as a service dog, but a recent trip to the Wendy’s near the Columbia Mall turned into a nightmare.

Welsh said the manager demanded to see the dog’s paperwork, which he said is against the law.  He said the woman told him that she did not have to serve him, and that’s when the veteran walked out.

The Lewisburg company that owns the Buckhorn Wendy’s called the situation a misunderstanding and said the district manager immediately apologized.

A spokesperson said the employee’s intent was not malicious, and all service dogs and veterans are welcome in the restaurant.

Here is the full statement from the company:

“Our customers are very important to us, including our veterans!  For that reason, we respond to our customers and their concerns as we did with Mr. Welsh.  Upon hearing Mr. Welsh’s comments, my district manager reached out to him immediately and apologized for his dissatisfaction.  She spoke with Mr. Welsh, and after discussing his concerns, they spoke of having a community night for Wounded Warriors.  A community night is where Wendy’s will donate a portion of the sales to the non-profit organization.  Mr. Welsh offered to bring in some educational material for our employees and customers regarding service animals.

In today’s world, the possibility of our employees encountering guests with service animals is more and more likely.  For example, my brother-in-law who suffered from PTSD after his return from Afghanistan still struggles today.  However, we still must assure that ALL our customer’s safety is at the forefront of our decision making.  It is our responsibility to assure food safety is paramount, and we believe our manager’s first thought was of the overall food safety and her intent was not malicious.  All service dogs and veterans are welcome in our restaurants.  We currently have veterans working for our organization, as well as the co-owner being a veteran himself.”

Cathy Toboz
Director of Operation

Amy Holz
Chief Financial Officer

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