SAN ANTONIO -- Iraq war veteran Adan Gallegos filed a federal lawsuit this month against Billy Bob's Beds.
The suit alleges the owner of the store, William Gholson, also known as 'Billy Bob', and employees discriminated against him and his service dog Bootz.
Gallegos served with the Army's 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, which was involved in the search for - and capture of - Saddam Hussein.
Gallegos returned home a wounded warrior, suffering from depression and post tramatic stress disorder.
"I've trained with Bootz and Adan and certified them as a service dog team," said Allen Hanauer, a senior dog trainer for SA K-9's.
Hanauer said he knows first hand what a service dog means to a person with a disability. "Bootz has given Adan like many other warriors the ability to go out in public any time of the day," replied Hanauer.
According to the lawsuit Gallegos and Bootz went into the mattress store last October, when Billy Bob "yelled and cussed at Mr. Gallegos and demanded Gallegos and Bootz leave the store".
The complaint states "Gholson stated he did not care if the dog was a service animal." Gholson indicated that Mr. Gallegos was in his place of business and "no one could make him do anything in his own building."
The court documents also say after Gallegos exited the store two employees harassed and ridiculed telling him "go take of his wounded warrior shirt and hat and go occupy Wall Street."
The attorney for William "Billy Bob" Gholson, William A. Sherwood released a statement to News 4 WOAI saying in part, "Mr. Gholson and his employees honor the military service of Mr. Gallegos and all veterans and active duty personnel. Billy Bob (BB) regrets the way things occurred and the misunderstanding between Mr. Gallegos and BB."
Sherwood went on to say, "It was a full year ago - October 2011 - that Mr. Gallegos came to Billy Bob's with Bootz. That is when the events occurred. In the full year since then and up until today (October 23, 2012), Billy Bob heard nothing from any lawyers for Mr. Gallegos or from the government or from any other representative of Mr. Gallegos. This is unfortunate because there is no reason for these lawyers to have filed this federal court lawsuit, which they did on October 18, 2012, last Thursday. Soon after this situation Billy Bob - changed his "No Pet" policy. Billy Bob sells mattresses; and pets in the store are a concern. Billy Bob has always allowed service dogs to come into the store when the dogs accompanied a customer with an obvious disability like blindness. Back at the time in October 2011, Billy Bob was not aware of the idea of service dogs for folks - like Mr. Gallegos - who did not have an apparent disability. There seem to be government rules and regulations that Billy Bob did not understand at the time. Billy Bob's current policy addresses this and all service dogs are allowed. Billy Bob is a small business owner with his wife. They have 8 employees. In his lawsuit, Mr. Gallegos says that he wants to return to Billy Bob's. Mr. Gallegos is welcomed with Bootz to come to Billy Bob's. In order to resolve this, Billy Bob is happy to provide a new, free mattress to Mr. Gallegos and to Bootz. Often, Billy Bob will cut down a mattress to size for a customer's pet. Billy Bob continues to offer a military discount to all of our service men and women."