A former law enforcement officer says he was kicked out an Old Sacramento restaurant because of his service dog.
Joseph Rangel spent years serving in agencies like the Auburn Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. He says he needs a service dog to help him cope with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"It's due to working roughly 16 years in child sexual crimes," Rangel told FOX40. "Because of that, I get anxious in social situations."
Rangel rescued the dog, when it was a 6-month-old puppy, from an auto wreck and named it Crash.
Last week, Rangel and his dog went to Fanny Ann's Saloon for lunch. The fact that Rangel's service dog is a pit bull, and it's collar said "Stay Away" made the restaurant's manager feel uneasy.
"That kind of set a slight red flag to me; one - the dog coming in with a 'stay away' (collar) on it, the breed was one that there's a lot of stuff going on about how potentially dangerous some of them could be," Fanny Ann's General Manager Mac McCoulloch said.
McCoulloch said there were children in the restaurant at the time.
"Still kind of bothered me it was standing there making a little bit of noise and grunting and snorting sort of," he said.
McCoulloch asked Rangel for proof that Crash was a service dog, though Rangel doesn't legally have to.
Rangel's answers to management's questions, McCoulloch said, left room for miscommunication.
"He was really kind of short, one syllable answers, you know?" McCoulloch saud. "I guess I made the mistake of asking him if he had papers for the dog, which I now very well aware I'm not supposed to do that."
Rangel says many people are just ignorant when it comes to pit bulls.
"I'm happy to educate but I'm not going to argue," he said.
The former peace officer says he's overwhelmed by the amount of support he has gotten on social media, but adds that he does not support others' call for a boycott of the restaurant.
"I don't want anyone to make any scenes, I don't want people make any threats, I don't want anyone doing anything silly, because that's a discredit to me and Crash and this," Rangel said.
Meanwhile, McCoulloch says he has since educated himself and his staff of the laws surrounding service animals.
"As far as Joe goes, I extend the olive branch to you, Joe," McCoulloch said. "If there's anything I can do for you to help you out in this situation to make you feel better or not uncomfortable coming back in here again with Crash, I'd love to have you guys come."
Rangel says that he and McCoulloch will work things out themselves.