KITCHENS – Waterloo Regional Police are investigating after a video of a man and his dog being forcibly removed from a local restaurant has been widely shared online.
In the video, the man is heard saying that the dog is his service animal.
Wednesday night, police attended Milton’s Grill & Bar on King Street East in Kitchener in response to the incident.
The video is 4:30 minutes long and shows a man being confronted by two other men asking him to leave. At times, the men are seen grabbing and even pulling him by the feet. His dog stayed largely out of frame.
“I have not done anything wrong,” the man is heard saying in the video.
“Yes you have. You are disrupting my business,” replied one of the men. “You are violating.”
One can hear people in the background urging the men to stop touching him. “Just leave him alone.”
It is unclear what happened between the two parties before the start of this video. The Record has reached out to family members of the man who was told to leave but has not heard back.
A Record journalist walked into the restaurant to get comments from the owners, but a person working behind the bar said the owner did not speak to reporters.
She said the restaurant discontinued its phone service because of the number of calls it received. The website Miltonsrestaurant.ca was also suspended on Thursday afternoon.
As of 2pm on Thursday, the video has been shared more than 8,000 times on Facebook and has received more than 4,500 comments. Most of these comments express disgust at the restaurant.
Police said officers received a report of a disturbance in the restaurant at 6 p.m. 18.40. Police said they are aware of the video and are investigating the circumstances surrounding it. No further details have been given.
Stacey Disch went to Milton’s Thursday afternoon to express her concern and disgust to the owner. She said promoted the business over the last few years and knows the owner from eating there so often. She was disbelieving when she saw the video.
“We supported him throughout the pandemic,” she said, adding that he has to apologize publicly before she will ever return.
Sarah Hamilton and her friend Alexandra Bower also came to the restaurant with large signs to express their anger after watching the video. Hamilton said the man in the video has been identified as having autism.
“I was just furious. It really hurt me,” Hamilton said. She has a 12-year-old son who has autism and said the way the man with the service dog was treated in the video was very worrying.
“It makes me think about my son and what he can go through and how he can not even be sure to walk into a restaurant.”
The two walked around the building, holding up their signs in silent protest, making sure not to step on the property.
She said there is a need for further training and education in how to treat people with autism or other disabilities. Education should be mandatory for those who work directly with the public, she said.
Bower said it was unclear what happened before the video began, but there was no reason for staff to physically grab the man, as they did – especially without knowing if the man had any kind of disability.
‘They could have just called the police. It did not have to escalate as it did, ”she said.
Others have turned up at the restaurant’s parking lot, just to see the place in person. A couple said they planned to call in a food order and not pick it up. On social media, people encourage others to write negative reviews.
On Yelp at 3:30 p.m., the restaurant had 81 reviews. Of those, 58 of them were posted after Wednesday night.
More on the way.