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War Hero Sues KFC

They REFUSED to Serve Me

'Cause of My Service Dog

8/21/2013 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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An American war hero is suing the company behind Kentucky Fried Chicken ... claiming KFC  employees refused to serve him ... all because he arrived to the fast food joint with his registered service dog, this according to a new lawsuit obtained by TMZ.

The man behind the lawsuit is Charles Hernandez -- who describes himself as a "highly-decorated  and combat-disabled veteran of the Iraq war and a distinguished educator in the New York City school system."

There's more ... he was also New York City Council's Veteran of the Year in 2011 ... and was also "one of the first soldiers to arrive at the World Trade Center site" on September 11, 2001.

So, you'd think the guy would have no problems getting some fried chicken at his leisure, right?

Wrong, according to his new lawsuit filed in NYC.

Hernandez claims he walked into a KFC in NY back in February, along with his registered service dog Valor ... who accompanies Hernandez to soothe his symptoms of post-traumatic stress caused by years in combat.

But instead of being greeted with a smile and some chicken, Hernandez claims a KFC employee told him, "papi, there are no dogs allowed."

Hernandez says he explained that he had the proper permits to have the dog accompany him inside restaurants -- to which the employee replied, "ok, but you still cannot have the dog in the store."

Eventually, Hernandez left ... sans chicken ... and is now firing back with the lawsuit -- demanding at least $1,000,000 for his troubles.

God bless America.

An employee at the KFC restaurant where the incident took place tells us ... when Hernandez arrived with the dog, the animal was not wearing the proper service dog vest and identification.

However, in his lawsuit, Hernandez states -- "Valor wears a bright green vest and tags that clearly indicate that he is not a pet, but rather a highly trained service dog."

Sgt. Hernandez called into TMZ Live today to talk about the suit.

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263 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

barf    

Well, it is time for all of us to think about how we approach veterans on a daily basis. Just thanking them on a national holiday is not enough. Food for thought...

365 days ago
17.

Phil Mcl    

What about all the people that don't want a dog in the restaurant where they are eating?

365 days ago
18.

heavy    

despicable on both sides yes KFC store needs educated but if you have a dog for ptsd and you can't do 5 min w;o him for food, you need institutionalized, the service animals allowed in a food store should be those for sight impaired and missing limbs

365 days ago
19.

STFUP    

He'll win the suit. It is KFC's responsibility to train their employees properly - including knowing that service animals ARE allowed.

365 days ago
20.

Dead account Delete at will    

Is this what this f**knut is going to be teaching? Is he going to go around and educate people on how to scam unrightfull lawsuits?
What a pieces of s**t of a vet and you vets out there should be pissed at what he's doing.

365 days ago
21.

Angela    

Actually the ADA does not count 'comfort dogs' in it's policy. So this is not against the law and his lawsuit will just fail.

This is taken directly from the ADA regulations:
Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

365 days ago
22.

Woot    

GOOD! Get that lameass poor excuse for a chicken joint!

365 days ago
23.

Babycakes    

!) When ever have you heard an employee refer to a customer as Papi?
2) Why would you explain you have permits instead of show them and point out your dogs vest assuming he was wearing the proper gear?
3) How is not getting to eat crappy chicken worth $1 million dollars?

365 days ago
24.

GetOverYourself    

I do not want dogs around me when I'm eating. If he HAS to have a dog, he should eat at home!

365 days ago
25.

CelebJustice    

This is the same guy that sued McDonalds in 2011 for 4 million. Sounds like Mr. Hernandez has a new career, dragging his service dog around looking for establishments to sue.

365 days ago
26.

Tammy LM    

I agree with one of the earlier comments. Soothes his post traumatic stress???? Hell, any dog does that. I suffer from anxiety problems also but I don't call my dog a "service dog" for it. If this guy's not suffering from seizures and has one of those dogs that can sense it, or is crippled and in a wheelchair and the dog picks things up for him or helps to steady his walking, then he doesn't need to bring the dog into the KFC. I agree with the other comment on that. If his post traumatic stress disorder is so serious and so bad, that he can't pick up some chicken without bringing his dog into the place, then he's got no business teaching kids for a living. And I understand perfectly well what it means to be a vet and a hero but it's just something that sounds funny when people list it all specifically on paper as a resume' for being put on a pedistal or something. One of the first responders to the world trade center on 9-11. Really? C'mon. Get over yourself. You could have left the dog in the car. I appreciate what you did for this country and everything just like everyone else, but drop the overly egotistical sence of entitlement buddy.
And on another note...Just because people have service dogs with qualifications does not mean you NEED to bring them with you everywhere. I've seen a lot of dogs that passed the service dog training classes and got their certification, but their owners are not special needs people. They're just regular dog owners and simply wanted to be able to march their overly friendly and easily trained pets anywhere they please by passing a service dog coarse. If the dog isn't servicing anyone with a special need, then leave the dog at home when you go to places where they are serving food to others. It's common curticy. It is rude to bring a dog where there is food and people eating especially when you don't need to dog for anything other than a furry companion. That's not fair to everyone else who left their dogs at home and would rather be petting them under the table too. And suing? please. He's just looking for an opportunity to get rich quick and this is shameful.

365 days ago
27.

morgan    

We have patients who come in with dogs wearing a service vest, and it is obvious they are not service dogs. You can buy the vests pretty easily. So I can understand the reticence of letting him bring the dog into the restaurant.

365 days ago
28.

Jim    

So, he's a "self-described" hero? Most real heros are very modest about their heroism. If this guy is a scam artist, I hope he's found out. It wouldn't be the first time someone has exaggerated their service history to get attention. Plus, either the dog was wearing the proper vest or it wasn't. Seems that would be pretty easy to verify. I do hope this is investigated further.

365 days ago
29.

billybob    

If Oprah would have left KFC sans chicken, she would be a victim of the KK...er... KFC racists!

365 days ago
30.

JFC10    

Drive thru

365 days ago
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