DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A motel owner is facing a possible misdemeanor charge for reportedly refusing to provide a room to a vacationing veteran and his service dog.
Former Army Sgt. Robert Price and his service dog named Walker tried to check in at the Budget Inn Express on Tuesday, WFTV reports. He tried to tell the desk clerk as a courtesy that he had a service dog with him, but was told that dogs weren’t welcome.
Price suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury after facing bomb attacks for years in the Middle East. He shared that he and Walker are inseparable.
The veteran decided to record the confrontation with his cell phone.
“Service dog or whatever. Dog is dog,” the motel owner Bina Patel said on the recording.
“A dog is a dog?” Price asked.
“Yes,” Patel stated.
Price explained how it felt being turned away from the motel to WFTV.
“Not only do I take it personal, but I take it as a huge disrespect to all veterans out there,” he shared.
Price said that Patel called the police and he felt as though she were calling him a criminal.
“There’s not a lower insult. There’s not a lower insult,” he said.
Prosecutors will decide whether to charge the woman with a misdemeanor. The state law prohibits businesses from turning away the disabled and their service/guide dogs.
Patel apologized for turning Price away explaining that she didn’t know about the law and promised that it would never happen again.
But Price said it wasn’t the first time he’s been turned away because he has Walker. He explained that he wants to help prevent other veterans from feeling the pain he felt on Tuesday.
“Vets … you weren’t alone overseas and you’re not alone here,” he shared.
Police officers escorted Price and Walker to the La Quinta where he received a generous discount on his room and was welcomed with open arms by employees.