Student claims restaurant wouldn't allow guide dog inside
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 7:11PM PDT
A B.C. university student who is blind has accused a Port Coquitlam restaurant of refusing to let his certified guide dog accompany him during his mother's birthday dinner.
Anthony Janolino, a Simon Fraser University student, told CTV News he takes his dog, Vanda, with him wherever he goes.
"She is my eyes, my guide," Janolino said.
But after Janolino brought Vanda into Dinakis Mediterranean Grill last Friday, he claims the restaurant told him to take the dog outside.
"Person comes up to me, tells me… your dog can’t be here, it’s a safety matter for the patrons," Janolino said.
That person, according to Janolino, was the restaurant’s owner and manager, Malik Malikzada.
The restaurateur has a different version of the story, however. Malikzada insists the family’s claim that they were told to put the dog outside simply never happened.
"No one said that," he told CTV News.
There was a disagreement inside Dinakis, part of which was recorded on a cellphone by Janolino's brother. The footage shows Malikzada apologizing to the family's table, and apparently agreeing the dog can remain in the restaurant.
“The dog should be allowed to stay,” a patron at another table can be heard telling him.
“I know, I know,” Malikzada responds.
He told CTV News he offered the apology to Janolino’s family because there was a misunderstanding and he wanted to ease the tension, not because he had, in fact, ordered them to take the dog away.
But the family said they left the restaurant disgusted, and they're furious both about what happened inside and at the restaurant's response after Janolino aired his frustrations on Facebook.
A comment form the Dinakis Facebook page reads: “Please for everyone out there do not misuse the disabled people condition to obtain free food.”
"He's accusing my mother of taking advantage of her disabled son for free meals," Janolino said.
The student hopes that by going public, he'll educate business owners about B.C.'s laws regarding certified guide dogs, which are supposed to have unrestricted access to public spaces provided they're well-behaved.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson