Blind pub-goer Alan Edwards is demanding an apology after claiming he was ordered to leave his local because of his guide dog.
The 57-year-old says he was asked to leave Th’Owd Seven Stars in Leyland because another customer was upset by the presence of black Labrador Kenko in the bar.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Alan who is registered blind. “What they did to me was disgraceful. I want an apology.
“To tell me I had to leave because this lad didn’t like dogs is against the law. I was furious.”
Alan claims two members of the bar staff and then the manager all asked him to leave because the pub formerly the Old Original Seven Stars in Slater Lane, was hosting a birthday party for a young man with learning difficulties.
“I know the lad and I know he isn’t keen on dogs,” he said. “I always keep Kenko by my side. But even before they arrived I was told by staff I’d have to leave. Yet when his dad came in he spoke to me and said he was OK with me being there. It wasn’t a private party.
“Kenko is an assistance dog and he is no trouble. He was just sitting there with his harness and lead on. So when the staff kept insisting I’d have to leave I started arguing with them.
“The manager then turned up and she told me I couldn’t stay. She said I was welcome any other night, but not that night.
“I told her it was wrong, it was discrimination and it was against the law. I was even going to tell them to call the police. But in the end, to avoid causing a real scene, I got up and left. I haven’t been back in since and I won’t be going back. Kenko gives me my independence and they have taken that away from me.
“I’m not asking for any special treatment. I just want to be treated the same as able-bodied people. The fact that I’ve got an assistance dog shouldn’t come into it.”
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is writing to the pub about the incident. Engagement officer Zoe Foster explained: “From what Alan told us, what happened to him was against the law - it breaks the Equality Act 2010.
“Even if someone has a fear of or an allergy to dogs that doesn’t mean you can ask a person to leave with an assistance dog. Unfortunately access refusal is still quite a common complaint we deal with, especially with taxis.
“Alan said he didn’t want to spoil the party and cause any upset so he left. But he feels what happened now has a potential to isolate him. He doesn’t want to go back in there because he doesn’t feel welcome.”
Th’Owd Seven Stars is owned by the Bradford-based Holt Pub Company.
A member of staff at the pub told the Lancashire Post: “It was classed as a private party for a lad who is terrified of dogs.
“Alan was told that after 7pm no dogs, including guide dogs, were allowed because of that.”