Repeat after us: You cannot pet a service animal while it’s working. It doesn’t matter whether that service dog is helping a blind person, an amputee or a person suffering from invisible wounds like PTSD. If you see that service dog vest, do not distract it from its job–keeping its owner safe and healthy.
This piece of common sense was missing Monday when Dominick Vidal walked into a Dunkin Donuts with his daughter and saw a disabled Army veteran with his service dog. According to police, Vidal became angry that the veteran would not allow his daughter to pet his service dog and punched him in the face. Twice.
The veteran was treated for minor injuries at the scene, local outrage sparked a manhunt for the person who assaulted him. After surveillance footage of Vidal’s face surfaced, he turned himself into the police.
Vidal said that he overreacted and “should not have done what he did.” He is now being charged with assault.
To recap, don’t pet a service animal while it’s working. Also don’t go around punching people who told you ‘no.’