ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A downtown restaurant is slapped with penalties after asking a woman to leave because she had her service dog with her.
A settlement between Maloney's Tavern and the U.S. Attorney's office comes months after the woman was refused service.
In August, Susan Cash and her friend went to Maloney's Tavern in downtown. Cash has Multiple Sclerosis and was accompanied by her service dog.
A settlement between Maloney's Tavern and the U.S. Attorney's office says after she told employees that her dog was a service dog, they not only refused service – they told her to get out.
"The bartender and other customers at the bar made comments about having lost table space for a wheelchair ramp and made jokes about Ms. Cash have a dog to take care of her," the settlement says. "The bartender insisted that Ms. Cash eat outside or leave the restaurant."
The US Attorney's office investigated, and decided the restaurant violated the American's with Disabilities Act. Neither the restaurant nor it's parent company, Ms.Cash or her lawyer would comment on the case.
As part of the settlement, Maloney's had to pay a $2500 fine and post a sign saying they welcome customers with service animals. They also have to train employees on the provisions of the ADA.
"I think most business owners genuinely want to do the right thing and sometimes there confusion about what constitutes a service animal," said Gred Trapp, director of the Commission for the Blind. "It's that confusion that causes problems."
Service animals perform specific task for a people with disabilities. Under state and federal law, it's their right to have them anywhere the public is allowed.
"Folks in general don't really have a grasp on utilization of service animals," said Jim Parker, director for the Governor's Commission on Disabiltiy. "People expect cards or certification and it doesn't exist."
Parker says they get calls almost every day from people whose service dogs were denied or questioned. He says that if a collar or certification was required for service dogs, it might clear up some of the confusion.
"They don't understand this dog provides a real, ongoing every day service - everything from picking up your keys if you drop them to guiding you down the street," he said.
The Americans with Disabilities Act has been in effect for more than two decades.
The Sandoval County sheriff's sergeant hit while investigating a weather related crash remains in critical condition.
John Smith with your forecast and Kim Vallez with your afternoon headlines.
A 21-year-old man faces nine years in prison for killing his father.
Albuquerque fire crews are taking a closer look at an overnight fire.
Officials say the Bernalillo County Treasurer Office is closed Friday after a suspicious substance was found in the office.
One thing that this winter weather can really do is help get you in that holiday spirit.