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Bluewater shopping centre bars blind man and his guide dog

Bluewater shopping centre at night
© Pauline Latchford - Facebook

A security guard’s ‘humiliation’ of a blind man at Bluewater shopping centre is being billed as the height of ignorance. 

By Nick Whittle, 11 Mar 2019

Pauline Letchford was visiting the shopping centre in Kent last week when she spotted the security guard urging a blind man to leave the mall because he was accompanied by a guide dog. Letchford promptly filmed the happening and posted her video on Facebook, sparking a wave of condemnation of the guard's actions. 

Despite the guard being confronted by other shoppers reminding him of the rights of those with assistance dogs, he was resolute. 

A right denied

It is an all-too-frequent complaint of people with assistance dogs that they are met by discrimination. Some people require the help of highly-trained dogs to get around; if they do not have that help they cannot live a normal life. 

The UK's Equality Act of 2010 protects all people with disabilities by providing them with the same rights of access as able-bodied people. Thus, to deny access to someone because they are accompanied by a helping dog is denying the person their legal privilege.  

Apology was forthcoming

According to Kent Live, Bluewater shopping centre has since apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the distress caused by the security guard’s actions, and has vowed to retrain their staff as a matter of urgency.  

Assistance dogs are and always have been welcome at Bluewater,’ a spokesman for the retail park said. ‘We are aware of an incident where a guest was mistakenly asked to leave with their assistance dog. We have been in touch with the guest in question directly and have apologised unreservedly for this error.

A 2015 Guide Dogs survey of over 1,000 owners of assistance dogs revealed that 75% of them had been in some way discriminated against by shop or restaurant staff or taxi drivers on account of their being accompanied by their dog.

 

Guard telling blind man and guide dog to leave bluewater disgusting

Posted by Pauline Letchford on Saturday, March 2, 2019