Disabled woman, 40, with multiple sclerosis claims she was kicked out of Wetherspoon’s pub and told her assistance dog was not welcome – leaving her feeling like a ‘second class citizen’
- Louise Harris was told her dog had to go despite showing registered paperwork
- Wetherspoons enforce a ban on dogs in 2018 over fears of pets ‘unpredictability’
A disabled woman was left in tears after she was kicked out of a Wetherspoon’s pub for bringing in her assistance dog.
Louise Harris was enjoying a meal at The Reginald Mitchell in Stoke-on-Trent with five friends, when she was told her cockapoo Bella was not welcome.
The 40-year-old wheelchair user lives with multiple sclerosis and suffers with a lack of mobility – her dog helps her with everyday tasks such as getting dressed and opening doors.
But she was dismayed when the manager approached her and told her no dogs were allowed despite her providing proof of Bella’s credentials as an assistance dog.
Louise Harris, who lives with multiple sclerosis, was told her assistance dog wasn’t welcome in a Wetherspoon’s pub in Stoke-on-Trent
The incident occurred around 7pm on Monday, January 16 as she tucked into the ‘food and unlimited tea’ offer and has left Louise, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, 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.
The 40-year-old said the manager ‘wasn’t interested in her paperwork’ about her assistance cockapoo Bella
‘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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