It’s probably a good thing service animals are trained to prepare for every situation, because one woman put one dog to the test.
RJ Wisowaty, the owner of Kathy’s Crab House & Family Restaurant in Delaware, posted a Youtube video of a customer going on an unhinged rant targeting a veteran and his service dog. The woman, Ciara Miller, said that she found the idea of an animal in a restaurant disgusting, and went into a profanity-laced rant.
“I’m leaving because the food is nasty and there’s a dog,” Miller yells.
The veteran, identified as Bill Austin brought his dog JP into the crab house with his family because the animal helps the former Army National Guardsman with his post-traumatic stress disorder, NBC Philadelphia reports. Austin did tours in Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan which have left him psychological trauma.
When an employee off-camera pointed out that Austin needed the dog because he “fought for our country,” Miller begins to curse obscenities.
“My husband’s dad fought for the fucking country!” Miller yelled in the video. “So what? It’s still nasty to me! It should be a separate section for a fucking animal!”
Miller continued to yell, calling one restaurant patron a whore and a bitch.
Kathy’s Crab House posted a statement to Facebook, apologizing for the “embarrassing” encounter and affirming that federal regulations do support the right to have service animals in public spaces.
“That being said, we would like to take what may have been perceived as a negative incident and turn this into a positive opportunity, by educating and enlightening the public about the role of service animals and how they help and serve many returning veterans who have suffered serious wounds and injuries, as well as those veterans suffering from PTSD,” Kathy’s Crab House wrote on Facebook.
The post explained that the establishment would begin fundraising for service animal programs with the Wounded Warriors veterans group in Montana, where Austin lives.
Miller told Fox 29 Philadelphia that she did not regret how vocal she was in the video, and was responding to several people hurling derogatory remarks at her.
“The dog’s body was about the same height as the table. Basically, the butt was sitting in front of me at the table,” Miller told Fox 29, adding that she and her family are now being harassed.
“No, actually I don’t regret how vocal I was. I reacted based on the way they reacted to me,” Miller said.
Service animals must undergo extensive training to be allowed to care for their owners. Animals that do not meet the requirements or that are unable to stay calm in distracting situations, such as a noisy restaurant will not qualify as service animals.
The full encounter can be viewed in the video above.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that service animals and emotional support animals undergo the same training for certification. Though many owners do obtain certification for their animals, it is not a requirement, and emotional support animals do not require training.