Woman with Guide Dog Turned Away from Restaurant

January 3rd, 2009 by Dan

A twenty-year-old woman named Emma Donnelly was recently turned away from a restaurant in Exeter, England because the restaurant’s management labeled her guide dog a “health and safety hazard.” The restaurant continued to refuse to let her in after she produced a government-issued card confirming that her dog was a service dog and not a pet.

Donnelly, who is blind, has filed complaints with the local disability rights commission and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association from which she got her guide dog. She states that the restaurant was nearly empty at the time, so she and her friends would not have been in the way of other guests. They ended up going to a different restaurant, where they were welcomed.

Guide Dog puppy

Guide Dog puppy

Photo by Louisa_Catlover

Yasmin, a Labrador retriever, is Donnelly’s first guide dog. In the month since Donnelly got her, this is the first time she has been refused entry to a public place because of her.

Chris Dyson, a spokesman for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association went on record this week stating that their “dogs are trained to a very high standard… In most cases people don’t notice they are there.” The government card Donnelly holds even states that it is because of Yasmin’s extensive training and impeccable grooming that she is allowed everywhere her owner is.

The restaurant’s management has refused to comment on the matter.

Thanks to our friends at Disaboom for keeping us updated on the latest service dog news!

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