A giant of the UK’s hospitality industry is braced for a surge of public condemnation after a change in tack in respect of its ban of dogs. J.D. Wetherspoon’s ‘No Dogs Allowed’ policy may have been in place for the past 40 years but it is today to be strictly enforced in all of the company’s 1,000 pubs, bars and hotels.
The biggest pub chain in the British Isles, which includes the Lloyds No.1 chain and 34 hotels, announced an enforcement of the long-standing ban believing it to be the right course of action after extensive consultations with customers and staff.
Although the policy was written in 1979 it was flouted by some outlets that understood the importance to their customers of a four-legged companion. In some corners of the country dogs have been allowed in both pubs and beer gardens.
But according to Wetherspoon’s spokesman Eddie Gershon such lenience is a thing of the past, and from the 10th September 2018, dogs will be banned from all areas. ‘Even well behaved dogs can be unpredictable, every dog owner thinks their dog is perfect,’ Mr Gershon told The Metro. ‘We welcome a lot of children and families and younger children in particular can be unpredictable around dogs and many are scared of dogs.’
‘Assistance Dogs’ are the only exceptions
The chain has agreed to permit dogs of a special purpose such as guide dogs. But even those who require ‘assistance dogs’ may discover that just bringing the animal is not enough. ‘To avoid any confusion or unnecessary upset, please ensure that your dog is wearing the recognisable leash/collar or harness,’ states Wetherspoon’s policy. ‘It would also be helpful if you could bring along suitable documentation to explain the dog’s purpose.’
Customers are divided on the enforcement, some having never seen a dog in their local and some applauding the move: ‘I’ve never understood why people feel the need to drag their poor dogs into pubs,’ said one woman. ‘Is there any evidence that they like being there?’