Disabled War Vet Gets Rude Treatment
(CN) - A San Antonio businessman kicked a disabled war veteran and his service dog out of a mattress store, and employees told the vet to "Go occupy Wall Street," the man claims in court.
Adan Gallegos sued Billy Bob's Beds in San Antonio Federal Court.
Gallegos claims the store president, William Gholson, kicked him and his service dog Bootz out of the San Antonio store though Bootz was clearly identified as a service animal.
Gholson is not named as an individual defendant.
"Gholson persisted in spite of Bootz wearing an identifying service-dog vest and Mr. Gallegos verbally informing Gohlson that Bootz is a service animal," the complaint states.
"Store employees continued the harassment and ridicule after Mr. Gallegos left the building."
Gallegos claims that Gholson called the police on him, and that after he left the store, employees followed him and told him to remove his Wounded Warrior clothing and "go occupy Wall Street."
Gallegos served with the Army's 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, "which was involved in the search for, and capture of, Saddam Hussein," according to the complaint.
He says he has been rated 70 percent disabled and has depression and severs post-traumatic stress disorder due to "intense combat" and "the explosion of an IED."
His dog Bootz helps him deal with his disabilities.
"The tasks performed by Bootz are directly related to Mr. Gallegos' disability and include monitoring Mr. Gallegos' behavior and alerting if Mr. Gallegos appears to be highly stressed or shows signs of a panic attack," the complaint states.
Bootz also wakes him up when he has a nightmare, reminds him to take his medication and warns him someone is coming up from behind him.
Gallegos claims he entered the store with a family member to pick up a previously purchased mattress. Bootz remained leashed and did not jump on any of the furniture.
"Gholson stated he did not care if the dog was a service animal," the complaint states. "Gholson indicated that Mr. Gallegos was in Gholson's place of business and no one could make him do anything in his own building."
Gallegos seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Texas Human Resources Code.
He is represented by Denette Vaughn with Disability Rights Texas, of Lubbock.