Fort Myers disabled man discriminated by bar?
Rejected and ready to fight for change, A disabled man says he didn't get into a Fort Myers bar and restaurant because of his service dog. He says he was turned away at the door.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS - The bar owner said he hadn't even heard about this until we brought it to his attention. and tonight he's making a promise to the owner of that service dog and others like him.
Ever since 57-year-old Joseph Pineau started suffering from paralyzing nerve damage, he's relied on Jordan for everyday tasks like picking up a container.
She's a service dog he credits with saving his life.
"I probably wouldn't be here today if it wouldn't be for her," said Joseph. "I'll be honest, she's my life."
So, you can imagine his reaction when he tried bringing her to this Fort Myers bar Monday night, the Indigo Room. He says a bouncer wouldn't let them in.
"I said ,sir, she's a service dog, she's got her vest on," explained Joseph.
After being turned away, it kept him up all night.
"Just wanting to bring this out so people can see that service dogs, it's a human being," added Joseph. "She won't leave my side, she won't bite, she doesn't bark."
Florida law says service dogs are allowed everywhere the public can go, except operating rooms and private clubs. But the Indigo Room is not a private club.
Fox 4 talked to Indigo Room owner Raimond Aulen.
"Could this have happened last night?" asked Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann. "I don't know how it's possible but i suppose it could have happened," replied Aulen.
The owner told us this was the first time he'd heard about it. He tried calling the bouncer, but couldn't reach him. So, i asked the owner to give us the bottom line.
"If someone came with a service dog, could they go in the bar or sit outside?," asked Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann. "They're allowed to go anywhere, anywhere they want with their dog," explained Aulen.
When i shared that with Joseph, he said that's how it should be. Because life without Jordan wouldn't be one at all.
"She's more than my best friend," said Joseph. "I probably wouldn't be here today. I wouldn't know what to do with out her."
Joseph told Fox 4 later this afternoon that Aulen personally called him to apologize for last night. Joseph says he was sympathetic and encouraged him to come by the bar anytime, ask for him and he'd get Joseph a table with his dog.