7-Eleven apologizes after veteran, service dog kicked out of New Jersey store

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Michelle Charlesworth reports from Parsippany, New Jersey, where a 7-Eleven is apologizing after kicking a veteran and his service dog out of its store. (WABC)

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is apologizing after a location in Parsippany kicked out a veteran and his dog.

Dogs aren't allowed in businesses that serve food, but this is a special companion and, as it turns out, was a misunderstanding.

Michael Deitch and his service dog Sox were taking in the Memorial Day parade when he ducked into the store on Beverwyck Road to get water for the pooch.

"I was told to leave immediately," he said. "An employee, I didn't know who he was, came around from the corner in about 30 seconds, by the time I stepped in, and said you have to leave, no dogs are allowed. I said, 'He's a federally-protected service dog.' He was wearing the same exact vest as he is today. And they said no, because they serve food items...Anytime he's outside of my home, he has the proper tag, vest, identification. I have cards, I have ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) law cards in my wallet."

Deitch served four years in the Air Force, and later, while serving as a police officer, was involved in a critical incident that left him with PTSD. And Sox wears a service dog vest.

"Post-traumatic stress disorder is a silent killer," he said. "And if not helped or taken care of or have a support group, that's why we have suicides in this country."

After Deitch contacted the corporate offices to complain, 7-Eleven reached out to him and released the following statement:

"7-Eleven does allow service dogs in our stores. This incident was a misunderstanding on the part of the Franchisee's employee. The Franchisee for the store is contacting this customer to personally apologize."

"The owner of the franchise called and said he apologized and thanked me for the service," Deitch said. "I've yet to see anyone who was involved from yesterday apologize to me."
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societyveteranmemorial daydoganimalu.s. & worldNew Jersey
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