German shepherd creates scene at Hodad's

Every dog has his day

Hodads interior. "We have service animals in here all the time."
  • Hodads interior. "We have service animals in here all the time."

Fredrick Altman thought he was just going for a burger with his family at Hodad's on May 17. But what should have been a lunch out on a beautiful day at the beach, turned into a nasty video accusing the staff at Hodad's of discrimination of a man with his service dog.

Altman stood outside Hodad's with his mother, pointing his camera at the counter.

Altman stood outside Hodad's with his mother, pointing his camera at the counter.

Altman posted the video on an Ocean Beach Facebook group {which now appears to be deleted] and pointed out that he was "told to leave" by the waitstaff at the popular restaurant. He told this reporter on the phone that, "I was physically shoved out with their hands on my back by an employee there." He further told me that, "I was never asked if my dog was a service dog but I was just rudely told to leave and that it was just too small in there for his dog."

"I walked in there with my sister, her husband, and my mother." When he was told he and the dog had to leave, he stated, "I was upset that my sister and her husband decided to stay," This can be heard on the video. He stood outside Hodad's with his mother, pointing his camera at the counter which faces the street and began recording. You can hear him say to his mother in the video, "My Mom is always telling me I'm wrong." His German shepherd, wearing a service dog vest, was at his side.

When messaging him privately on Facebook, I asked him what his service dog was for. He then sent me a note from his doctor on her script pad, showing that he suffers from PTSD, ADHD and a bipolar disorder. I then asked him if his dog was an emotional support animal. He said yes. I then queried him on the ADA (American Disabilities Act) rules about an ESA (Emotional Support Animal). "You do realize that you can't bring an emotional support animal into a public place that doesn't allow animals other than a legitimate service animal for a physically disabled person, right?" He didn't answer me directly on that one and just went on about how he was mistreated and was going to get a lawyer.

I then went over to Hodad's and talked to one of the managers and company president of the burger joint, Jeremy Diem, and was told a very different story. I spoke with the manager/server on duty that day, who waited on him before he was asked to leave. The server on duty, is six months pregnant and asked to remain anonymous. She told me, "His dog was out of control. We sat the party and that dog jumped up with his front paws on the table several times. He was barking and when we said you can't do that in here and asked him to leave, the dog refused to move, and he started dragging him out. The dog then went a little crazy and bumped into a chair holding an infant in a baby seat, and the mother had to grab her kid so he wouldn't fall to the floor. He was never pushed by anybody."

Jeremy told me, "We offered to accommodate him with a seat outside that faces the counter, as long as you're not drinking alcohol. He refused. I don't know what more we could have done. We have service animals in here all the time. A real service animal doesn't move, sits quietly and obeys. This dog was out of control." Diem further stated, "we know what questions to ask, but this guy couldn't seem to answer them. You could tell this was not a trained service animal which are always welcome here."

The Facebook thread on this subject has grown quite lengthy with nothing but support for Hodad's and some pretty nasty comments regarding Fredrick and his dog.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Dogs everywhere. Why does everyone need to take their dog everywhere? This guy is with his mother and sister, what other "emotional support" does he need? I'm tired of seeing dogs in grocery stores, shopping malls and so forth. Establishments have the "right to refuse service to anyone"and that includes humans and dogs. If they are annoying other patrons, then the owner/manager has the right to ask them to leave. You want to sit in a burger joint with your dog? Buy your own burger joint.

He is just another dirt bag that taxpayers have to support because of all his "disabilities".

I have been running into alleged service dogs in Sprout's grocery lately. They are toy models, under 20 pounds and I don't think service dogs are that small. I've seen a couple of them act out and their owners picked them up and went about the store. I saw the dogs contact food items in produce. The owners of the dogs were all pictures of health, young and strong physically, actually quite attractive. The men seemed to use the dogs to meet women in the store. The dogs have on a vest but I couldn't make out any thing that seemed to make it a real service dog. I'm a disabled vet and probably going to need one because my old back injury is getting worse. This only makes it hard for patients that really rely on the assistance these animals can provide. If you see a dog in a vest acting out, it is not a service dog.

I've seen dogs at Sprouts and Albertsons too. I complained to the manager at one Albertsons and he told me there was nothing he could do because store employees could not inquire about a customers "medical condition." I think it's simply a lack of courage on the managers part to enforce the rules posted at the stores entryways. Does the store care that Fido's butt was sitting where the next customer is going to place their food? What this issue is really about is a sense of entitlement people have these days that they can take their pets with them wherever they go; it's selfish, rude and unsanitary.

Bingo Shamus! This is so prevalent nowadays and if they ever do crack down on all these fake scammers, it's going to make it so much more difficult for the people with legit service animals. Such a shame.

No one is doing legitimate psych service dog handlers any favors by defending this. Aside from the professionally (and legally) unacceptable behavior witnessed, the gist is the owners own statement that dog is an ESA. Regarding defense of the idea that it 'could have been' a psych SD- do you really think that someone who couldnt even be bothered to learn the difference before attempting public access has actually gone through the rigorous training process to reach legal SD qualifications for said access? There is SO much information available now it just shows an enormous lack of respect or even basic interest in working dog standards. If you merit disability rights & could benefit from specialized assistance, go through the proper training & procedures and you will be afforded equal protection regardless of physical or psychological condition (equal legally, but equal treatment is getting worse thanks to all this confusion)

People pushing their untrained ESAs into SD only situations is destroying the public reputation of all legitimate SD teams, and especially damaging to the ptsd & psych dog community. Conflating comfort & therapy pets for non-disabled owners with legal trained PSDs completely undermines the equal treatment & acceptance members of the psych-disabled community have worked so hard for. Its not just disrespectful its outright damaging, and is building to a system overhaul that will only add more difficulty for legit ADA community.

Thank you for stating this so succinctly!

Unfortunately, the above statement is mistaken.

Mercy, how about your lack of exposition? Should have had the "service" dog serve food and drinks as a way to earn his keep; it's a "win, win."

I agree that there is no defense no matter whether it was an ESA or a SD because it behaved badly and the restaurant had the right to ask it to be removed.

Unfortunately, you are mistaken that there is a legal requirement for public access training for SDs. The only legal requirement is that the dog be specially trained to do work or perform tasks that ameliorates the handler's disability. A SD can be trained to perform tasks that serves to ameliorate said disability (alerting, which even small dogs may do, is a good example) and, unfortunately, not have adequate training in behaviors such as under, down-stay, proper greetings, off, leave it, ignoring other dogs, etc - all of which are necessary for good public behavior in all situations.

IMO, since a business may ask only two questions: Is this a SD? What does it do for you? And people do lie - or simply fail to know whether they legitimately have access rights - it is more important for businesses to know their right to have badly behaving dogs removed.

Although I wanted to note that the "legal SD qualifications" were mistated (see my other comment), you raise an extremely important point. The lack of SD training standards is the primary issue driving the push towards a "system overhaul". Such an overhaul - if it ends up requiring all SDs be program trained, or certified (who would pay for that?) - would leave many many people with disabilities unable to get a SD due to availability and cost. It may also lead to requirements for IDs - another intrusive and expensive proposition.

IMO, the answer is education education education. Businesses and consumers should know that any badly behaved dog can (and should be) removed. I think this knowledge would drastically reduce the number of untrained animals being taken into businesses in the first place.

wow i may have psych issues & even i consider that loony lol. Would an actual judge be fit to judge in your opinion? Because this is not legally defensible and does more harm than you know to the legit PSD handler community, non-disabled handlers with untrained comfort animals undermines the hard earned access rights of those who depend on SDs to survive. The ADA was not created as an easy loophole for people to game the system & this is no different than using your disabled granny's parking pass because 'everyone else does it'. 🙄

As someone who has struggle with disabling physical and mental conditions its disappointing to see this. My now retired SD went through hundreds of hours of specialized training to be able to work under perfect off leash control in all stressful situations. She is trained to go thru airport security by herself w/no gear, id go thru scanner while she waited 'in line' to get called thru seperately. We put the effort into things like this out of respect & to expedite daily process for people working with us.

Recently saw headlines about a Florida airport thrown into chaos when a pitbull comfort dog was unleashed at security & promptly tore thru airport & out into traffic. Last year i winessed a very stressed dog in an ESA vest attack a passing child in a mall. There have been a number of tragedies recently where owners were encouraged to use the ADA loophole to skirt BSL (anti-pitbull laws) resulting in attacks on legit SDs and children. Real handlers are constantly retraining & go to great lengths to minimize their 'pawprint' on public life out of respect for those providing accommodation & reputation of all working dogs... vs personal enjoyment, skirting community laws, saving money on pet fees or just straight breed propaganda. I wish these owners could walk in the shoes (or ride in the chair) of a truly disabled person for a day (a month, try to imagine a lifetime) and have just an iota of respect for what that 'free access' means to them.

Shamus stands corrected about toy animals. My experience is at the VA hospital and the support animals out there provided by the VA are not toy animals that I have seen. Veterans have different needs than civilians in some cases but if you have a toy service animal trained and worth thousands of dollars I apologize. The ones I see at Sprouts do not appear to have any training and the young owners with their 6-pac abs don't appear in emotional distress as they solicit different women on the grocery trip. The animals at the hospital don't respond to people as a rule and they are all wearing the same vest and warning about touching. These animals in Sprout's wear different vests and behave totally differently. They always react to people that are close. So again, those of you with highly trained emotional support animals of toy stature accept my apology. I priced the animals and they were all well over a thousand dollars, depending on your disability and level of need. I would have been required to take a 2 week training with the animal and trainer before the dog was released to me after the purchase. These toy dogs I encountered did not appear anything like the animals I watched in videos offered by the training facilities nor did they behave like the animals the veterans bring to the hospital. So those of you out there with cute toy dogs that you purchased a vest for so you can take them with you for your own amusement or to amuse others, WTF? Don't screw it up for people with real needs, veterans like me with bad backs and PTSD that really need these animals to survive on our own. Many of us have trouble being around people and the dogs are the next best thing. Think about it.

I wanted a service squirrel but they said I was nuts. So, I asked for a service cow but they said it would bully the other service animals. I tried a service fox but the service chickens seemed to have a problem with that. Who knew? Had a service lizard but he just lounged around all day-no help whatsoever. Don't even get me going about my service hyena. Not a good scene in restaurants or funerals. I had three service mice. Didn't help that they were all blind.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad