John Hardy and his guide dog Sid

John Hardy and his guide dog Sid were refused entry to a curry house in Somerset

A guide dog owner who was refused entry to a restaurant is campaigning to raise awareness of the problem.

John Hardy, who is registered blind, began his campaign after being barred from a curry house in Somerset, when he went for a meal with his family and guide dog Sid, in September 2021.

Mr Hardy, from Bridgwater, said staff told him no dogs were allowed and they were unhygienic near the kitchen.

The restaurant has since been ordered to pay him £2,000 in compensation.

Mr Hardy told BBC Radio Somerset that taxi firms, proprietors and restaurant owners should make sure their staff are aware of the law.

He also wants disability access to be part of the training for businesses applying for licences, including taxi licensing.

The UK Equality Act 2010 prohibits service providers, including taxis and restaurants, from discriminating against those with disabilities and requires reasonable adjustments to be made for disabled customers.

Sid the guide dog. He is a black Labrador
Mr Hardy said while the experience left him feeling humiliated, his local haunts in Bridgwater are brilliant with his dog Sid

"We walked into the restaurant, I went first as I do when I have Sid, and I was immediately blocked from entering with the guide dog," Mr Hardy said.

Despite pointing out Sid, in a full working harness, was a guide dog and he was blind, the waiter refused to listen and said "it doesn't matter".

Mr Hardy then "tried to explain the law to him" and asked the waiter to get a manager, but he refused and told him the restaurant was fully booked.

'Humiliating experience'

"As I was speaking to him he just completely turned his back on me and refused to speak to me. He would only speak to my son," he said.

Mr Hardy said the experience was "humiliating".

He later took legal action after the management denied any allegations of discrimination when he made a formal complaint.

Mr Hardy said proprietors and restaurant owners should make sure their staff are aware of the law.

Mr Hardy was eventually awarded £2,000 in compensation at a one-day hearing at Taunton Crown Court in December.

The court found the restaurant had breached the Equality Act.

Mr Hardy said while the experience had left him feeling de-humanised, his local haunts are "brilliant with Sid".


From BBC




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