Gym apologizes to former soldier over service dog refusal

The owner of Global Gym in Moncton has issued a public apology, following a complaint of discrimination against his business.

Owner of Global Gym in Moncton issues public apology after Kevin Berry complains of discrimination

Kevin Berry was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2010, six years after his military service with the 3rd battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Kabul. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The owner of Global Gym in Moncton has issued a public apology to a former soldier whose service dog was denied entry to the fitness club.

Darrin Gray apologized to Kevin Berry and all war vets in a Facebook posting on Tuesday.

"Prior to this incident I will have to admit my knowledge of a service dog and [their] purpose, was very little. However, over the last few days, I have learned so much about the purpose of these dogs and the important role they play in society," said Gray.

The apology comes one day after Berry told CBC News he and his service dog had been turned away from the facility, under a no-dog policy, and that he planned to file a discrimination complaint with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.

In the statement, Gray says the gym had previously dealt with complaints "from numerous members regarding dogs at our facilities." One incident involved a pet and the other, a service dog, he said.

"I intend to educate myself, my staff and my members to understand the role of service dogs for vets in our community," the statement says.

"We look forward to working with any vet and their service dog."

Berry, 30, who served with the 3rd battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003-04, says he requires his dog, Tommy, to help him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He told CBC News they were passing through Moncton last week as part of a walking tour tour between Nova Scotia and Ontario to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder when they went to Global Gym on Mapleton Road and were denied entry.

Berry, who called the incident "unacceptable," said he still intends to file a complaint with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.

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