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A disabled woman has shared her frustration after claiming she was kicked out of a Wetherspoon’s pub – after being told her assistance dog was not welcome. Louise Harris was enjoying a meal at The Reginald Mitchell with five friends when the incident occured.
The 40-year-old wheelchair user – who lives with multiple sclerosis and suffers with a lack of mobility – was also joined by her sandy-coloured cockapoo Bella who helps her with everyday tasks such as getting dressed and opening doors. However, she was dismayed when the manager approached her in the Parliament Row pub at around 7pm on Monday, January 16 as she tucked into the ‘food and unlimited tea’ offer.
Louise, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, says the manager told her no dogs were allowed despite her providing proof of Bella’s credentials as an assistance dog. The incident left her in tears and scared to leave the house again.
She told StokeonTrentLive: “The manager came up to me and he said ‘your dog isn’t allowed in here, I’d like you to leave, your dog isn’t an assistance dog’.
“I showed him my paperwork. I had my hidden disability lanyard on, you can’t see I’ve got one when I’m sitting down, so it’s got my ID and a photograph which says what disabilities I’ve got.
“Assistance dogs have to have their registered paperwork which I had on me. They have to have their coats on to prove she’s an assistance dog and not any old dog, so it’s visible.”
But Louise says the manager wasn’t interested in her paperwork. “I kept it calm, I don’t like any confrontation,” she added. “I came out and cried. I was so upset and hurt. I felt like a second-class citizen.
“I have a disability, she’s there for my disability. I use crutches and a wheelchair. She can undo my shoe laces, take my socks off, she’s going to learn how to open doors and press buttons.
“I went to the bus station, I waited until I stopped crying. I didn’t want anybody else to know what was going on. I try to fit in as best as I can, I am disabled but I try to be as able as I can. It makes you feel like you don’t want to leave the house, it makes you feel discriminated against, and you lose the confidence to go out. It’s shocking they make people feel like this.”
Wetherspoon introduced the ban on dogs on September 10, 2018 but does allow assistance dogs.
Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Wetherspoon operates a ‘No-dog’ policy in all of its pubs with the exception of assistance dogs. We are dealing directly with Ms Harris to understand and address her concerns.”
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