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Veteran Asked to Leave Illinois Store Because of Service Dog

ROCKFORD, Illinois  --  A military veteran was kicked out of an Illinois store because of his service dog.

The man caught the incident on camera, and WREX 13's Kristen Crowley spoke with the veteran about the situation with his dog Angel.

"He's actually literally brought me back to life," said Iraqi veteran Cesar Ordonez of his service dog. "We don't leave each other's side much."

When Cesar stopped for a snack and drink at Broadway Liquors in Rockford, Angel went with him. But a store employee did not want Angel to be inside the business.

"I said don't bring that dog in here no more," said the employee in footage Cesar captured on his cell phone.

"So you're telling me not to bring my service dog in here, right?" Cesar replied.

"Yeah don't bring that dog in here no more. If you have to have the dog, go somewhere else," replied the employee.

Recounting the event, Cesar said, "Immediately when I walked in, they're like, 'woah woah, wait a second. You can't have that dog in here,' and I said, 'yes I can. He's a service dog.'"

WREX 13 went to Broadway Liquor to talk to the store's manager, who said Angel was not allowed in the store because Cesar did not have a certification card for the dog.

However, as Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, "Service dogs do not have to be certified to be allowed in stores. That sounds like a violation of the law. The owner or the employee of the store, absolutely should have allowed that veteran in with his service animal."

The store worker would not comment further about the incident. Cesar says he doesn't want anything bad to happen to the worker or the store, he just wants to raise awareness.

"The more important thing to me is more people need to know about this kind of stuff," he said. "It happens a lot more than people realize."