chako richmond hill

Toronto woman says she was denied entry to restaurant because of her service dog

A Toronto woman plans to file a complaint after she was denied entry to a Richmond Hill restaurant because of a service dog.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she and her partner drove to Richmond Hill to Chako Barbecue and Izakaya for dinner on Aug. 11. They had called ahead and advised them they would be bringing Phoenix, a psychiatric service dog.

"It seemed like everything was going to be fine," her partner tells blogTO.

But when they got to the restaurant, they say staff told them "no dogs allowed" because customers might have allergies.

Chako did not respond to requests for comments on the situation but in an interview with City News they said the incident was a misunderstanding.

The couple says they told the restaurant staff and then the manager that Phoenix is prescribed by a medical professional. He was wearing a service dog vest and under AODA regulations they should be allowed inside.

The host suggested they could sit on the patio but there was a heat alert — no one was on the patio.

"It wasn't safe for us and for the dog."

After they said they would be making a human rights complaint, they say the manager offered them a seat inside the restaurant but they were too upset at that point. They went across the street to a restaurant that was welcoming.

The woman points out that if she were blind and needed a service dog, she would likely not be denied entry.

"This is literally something that is helping me be here," she says. "I felt like a burden."

The woman is looking to getting a lawyer and filing a Human Rights complaint. She hopes that this will raise awareness about mental illness and how not all disabilities are visible.

"I don't want this to happen anyone else – it's not okay," she says.

It was one of their first outings out together with Phoenix.

"This really set me back – I feel like they don't understand what they did," she says. "This has furthered my mistrust of the public."

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