Tim Horton’s Really Blew It This Time

Veteran told his service dog not allowed.

Oh, Tim Horton’s, you’ve really gone and done it now. First it was the frozen donut fiasco. Then you switched coffee suppliers, much to the chagrin of millions of loyal Tim Horton’s coffee drinkers (and to McDonald’s benefit). And now, this unfortunate episode.

Last night Canadian army veteran Sgt. (ret.) Mike Rude entered the Tim Horton’s in Redcliff, Alberta, with his service dog Spark. He ordered two coffees, set them down, and went to the washroom. When he came out, the store supervisor informed him that dogs were not allowed in the store.

He informed her that Spark was his service dog, to no avail. After informing this person that he’d be calling police over the matter, she told him, “Fine, I’m going to tell my manager.” (Ooooooooooo, noooooo, not the manager.) By this point his coffee buddy had arrived and they decided to just leave the place.

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I just don’t know where to begin here I’m so mad right now, so I’ll begin with the law. Now it’s possible that the person responsible for this is from another country, perhaps a temporary foreign worker, and they are ignorant of Canadian law. Perhaps they were born in this countrty and are just plain ignorant. Either way there is no excuse.

A qualified service dog team has their rights to access public spaces protected under the law. The right to public access means that a service dog team has the right to go anywhere the public may go, including:



retail stores

movie theatres

golf courses


pet-restricted apartments or condos


taxis and buses

places of worship

all other public areas

This does not apply to non-public areas such as food preparation areas, sterile hospital rooms or restricted access areas.

Government of Alberta
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This can be one of those “teachable moments” for Tim Horton’s and its employees. It should be up to the company to make sure that its employees are aware of Canadian law, especially if that person is a temporary foreign worker.

Businesses should keep the following information in mind:

The rights of all Albertans must be considered in a respectful and tolerant manner.

If your customers or employees have allergies, a fear of dogs or don’t want to be near dogs, they can make their fear known to you and ask that you make alternate arrangements for them.

You can’t designate a specific area for individuals with service dogs, such as an outside seating area.

A taxi driver unable to transport the person and the service dog, can order another taxi from the company, requesting that a priority response be provided.

Businesses that discriminate against qualified service dog teams can be fined.

Government of Alberta
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Sure hope you can afford the $3,000 fine.

Offense Fine (Max.)

Falsely claiming to be a disabled person to get protection under the Act $300

Refusing to return a service dog identification card when asked to do so $300

Discriminating against a person lawfully using a qualified service dog or refusing access to qualified service dog teams $3,000

Government of Alberta
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What really galls me here is the fact that this is the same company that opened a store in Afghanistan, for the troops, like Sgt. Rude. So, he was good enough to serve coffee to then, when he was carrying a weapon, but the man returns from that place with a debilitating brain injury caused by an anti-malarial drug called mefloquine, also known as Lariam. He needs Spark because of that injury.

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Notice anything about these photos? Spark is almost ALWAYS at his side, no matter where he goes. He relies on her to calm hin down at times, like when he’s having panic attacks which are a result of the damage to his brain stem. What the hell is wrong withg you?

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By now I’m sure you have received a number of complaints over this. That number is about to get much higher. There are a lot of veterans and their supporters in Canada that won’t take too kindly to the way Sgt. Rude was treated. You can therefore expect some blowback. How much will depend on you however.

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I’m a little pissed off right now, as are a large and soon to be growing number of Canadians. We will express our displeasure in the form of formal complaints and a boycott of all Tim Horton’s locations until such time as Sgt. Rude has received an apology and is satisfied with your response. This is your opportunity to do the right thing.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing, dog and indoor

If this has not happened within 24 hours, you can expect things to escalate. I will remind you DAILY, as will a number of other people I’m sure, that you screwed up and need to make amends to Sgt. Rude. I’m mad now, and if I become pissed off, like I will be tomorrow at this time if things arent made right, things will go nuclear VERY quickly.

You have until 3pm MDT tomorrow.

Update – August 3rd

Nationwide Boycott of Tim Horton’s Called

Previous incidences of discrimination at same location. Some disturbing allegations are emerging.


August 5th-Behind The Boycott


22 thoughts on “Tim Horton’s Really Blew It This Time

  1. This really galls me in that the founder, Ron Joyce, was a retired Petty Officer in the Canadian Navy and also served later as a Honorary Captain.


  2. Quick question, just playing devils advocate, was there any indication, harness, or otherwise that this was a service animal?


    1. The same thing happened to me in the same location three years ago…
      And my dog is always vested when we are in public.
      They just do not care about people with disabilities that utilize service dogs.
      Many people also do not understand that our dogs are not pets, they are pieces of medical equipment, no different than someone’s oxygen tank, wheelchair or white cane. People have no idea the amount of training that goes into our dogs.
      This is my service dog and while this video is long, I left it long and “uncut” or “unedited” to show people the amount of training and that this was not a two-minute fluke…


  3. I am a Brit veteran working in Saudi…I used to regularly frequent Tim Hortons in Jeddah… That has just changed !! Oh hello Starbucks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WoW~!
    Looks like Tim Hortons haven’t learned yet…
    I was also kicked out of Tim Hortons because of my service dog. And guess what… It’s the same location…
    I am now in the process of a Human Rights Tribunal because of the situation and that should be completed this year…


  5. Was this dog qualified by the Alberta Government and the handler in possession of their Government ID card? If the dog has not passed the public access test assess and all necessary veterinary paperwork and history provided, they won’t be issued an ID card. They won’t be a qualified service dog and as such, don’t have Public Access rights. I have been told to leave certain convenience stores with my service dog however I provide the identification card and advised them that if need be it can become a police matter. Only qualified service dog teams have public Access rights. All other dogs, including service dogs in training are only allowed at the discretion of the business owners.


      1. It’s good she’s qualified. The identification actually includes the ACT number that an officer can utilize if the police were called in such a situation. I too have been told to get my dog out. I’ve found that the majority of these instances have occurred at places where most of the staff are new to Canada and come from places where often dogs are considered about as valuable as rodents. I can try and be understanding and forgiving in these instances but I make sure to follow up with corporate to advise them that they need to include service animal conduct in their employee training. It’s perfectly okay to ask for identification as nowadays there are individuals who simply order a service dog vest off the internet, slap it on their dog and call it a service animal when it hasn’t been tested for temperament or behavior or training and there’s no proof or evidence of vaccinations being up-to-date. Individuals that do things like that make it much harder for those of us with actual service animals and require them for our safety well being.


    1. You are mistaken…
      The Alberta Human Rights Commission states that if the person is diagnosed with a disability and has medical documentation that the dog helps mitigate the disability, they are protected under the Human Rights Act.
      The only thing Alberta Certification is absolutely nothing. In “some” cases it may help inform the manager, but even the police are not informed on the Service Dog Act.
      And while some locations may be fined $3000 for refusing service, this does nothing for the person being discriminated. The most effective way to deal with businesses that are not compliant with the human rights of people with disabilities that use service dogs is through the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
      And I have a complaint before the commission against this same location…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Currently the Alberta Human Rights Commission has been advising handlers that face discrimination that they may be asked to provide valid reasoning why they would not have their dogs qualified under the service dog act. I can’t think of a valid reason why somebody wouldn’t but perhaps there are some.. If their dog isn’t able to pass the public access test, then it should not be considered safe to work in public. I completely empathize with your experience and if I read things correctly, your incident occurred before the amended the service dog act to include privately trained and owner trained dogs. That amendment allows all those who have an animal trained to mitigate their disability the opportunity to be covered by the ACT and protected by it. You are correct that most officers are not aware or well-educated the ACT however the identification card does provide the necessary act number for them to use. We cannot expect business owners to be able to tell the difference between a properly trained service animal and a dog that is simply a pet. Unfortunately there are many people that would pretend to have a disability so they could take their dog with some to places they normally couldn’t. It’s truly unfortunate that people would do that. A service dog like Annie should be able to consistently do all of the items on the public access test however not all owner trainers are as experienced as you and that testing helps to ensure that those of us relying on our dogs don’t end up with partially trained dogs barking or attacking them. It makes sure that amateur dog trainers have covered all the necessary training that must be in place.


      2. If a man has to get into an argument for his rights every time he enters any establishment it is defeating the purpose of having a stress relief dog. Anyone seen arguing with a service dog team should immediately be considered a total idiot. If you see this please step up to defend, separate the idiot from the team, allow the team to carry on while you educate the idiot. The public needs to take part to stop what we don’t want in our towns. We need to teach respect!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Marla, once again you are mistaken.
    The Service Dog Act in itself is against people’s human rights and the Alberta Human Rights Commission is not asking for any validation of provincial certification.
    The only requirements the Commission looks for is if you have been diagnosed with a disability and if you have medical confirmation that your dog helps mitigate the disability.
    As a matter of fact, the Alberta Human Rights Commission accepted and registered my complaint against Bob Wanner (former Speaker of the Alberta Government). And that was for denying me access to The Alberta Legislature Building for forty-five minutes.
    At no time did the commission ever ask me why my dog is not certified because they know, nobody’s human rights are dependant on the status of a dog.


    1. Was your complaint filed this calendar year? I had been advised by a few advocacy groups who had approached Human Rights in Alberta and they all state they were informed that now that there has been adequate time to have preexisting teams assessed to show a dog’s training and behaviour is adequate they are likely to raise the question. If they are giving different info to various handlers that’s wrong.

      I’d hate to see it turn into a police state where we are all asked for identification upon entrance to anywhere public. However there are those with dogs wearing vests that lack many of the basic skills. A service dog should never growl or lunge when they run into another service dog. Even though it can be covered with patches stating do not touch, it can’t snarl or snap when someone ignores those. Yet there are dogs out there that are doing this. It’s brought about the need for some form of standardized skills.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. To be asked to show proof everywhere you go in itself becomes a form of abuse. Imagine being randomly selected every time you go through security. Use your powers of observation, trained dogs look trained, they’re not distracted, sniffing the floor or jumping or begging. ..he’s on duty and if you just look at it you can tell. All they want is peace so let them be. If either member of the team become problematic then perhaps ask for whatever certification is required. When you come straight at them as they are entering the door it’s instantly a hostile environment and I wouldn’t blame them for turning around right there or for swearing at you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I just got a call from the Alberta Human Rights Commission. They told me that my case against the Redcliff Tim Hortons has been assigned to a conciliator and I’ll be receiving some registered mail in the next couple of weeks.
    This is a result of Tim Hortons kicking me out three years ago because of Annie, my service dog.


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