A partially sighted woman was left feeling embarrassed and ashamed after she was refused entry into a part of a restaurant. The reason? Her guide dog!
By, 13 Jul 2019
Catherine Brown, along with her husband and guide dog, was staying at the popular Fleece Hotel in Cirencester.
They knew the dog was coming
She'd called the hotel in advance to find out what their policy was regarding guide dogs. The person she spoke to said the pooch was welcome, and nothing was said about the guide dog as they checked in at reception.
But as they tried to enter the main dining room later that evening, Catherine and her helpful pooch were refused access. When asked about the incident, Catherine said:
“I was physically barred from entering the dining room. A very tall man stood in front of me and said I wasn’t allowed in as somebody in there may have been allergic to dogs.”
Staff directed Catherine to a small seating area outside of the restaurant, which she said was dimly lit. Moreover, this only added to her embarrassment:
“I was told that I could eat in the bar area, but it was heaving with people," said Catherine. “There was also low lighting in there, so I couldn’t see what was on my plate. I ended up in tears. It was a very upsetting experience."
Catherine later spoke to the manager,taking the opportunity to remind him of the 2010 Disability Equality Act.
It states that it's against the law for service providers to treat people with disabilities less favourably because of their disability, or because they have a guide or assistance dog with them.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse
The manager was unaware of the law, but the hotel has since made changes to their policy to ensure all customers receive fair treatment.
The hotel also issued an apology to Mrs Brown and has invited the whole family back so they can enjoy a much more positive stay.