Deaf woman refused entry to restaurant

Carol Butler, with her hearing dog Scooby
Carol Butler, with her hearing dog Scooby

A deaf woman was refused entry into a pub restaurant because she had an assistance dog with her.

Carol Butler and her family were in the Horse and Jockey pub, Warley Road, Halifax, when they were told they could not eat in the restaurant with other diners.

Horse and Jockey, Highroad Well, Halifax.

Horse and Jockey, Highroad Well, Halifax.

The mum-of-two said that despite trying to explain her assistance dog, Scooby, is a working dog, the owner still refused to let them into the restaurant.

At the time, Scooby had a special coat on and a ‘Hearing Dog’ tag on the lead.

“I didn’t realise what was happening at first, we tried to explain that Scooby is an assistance dog but it seemed to make no difference to the manager, who stated that he does not allow dogs on to the premises,” said Carol, who works for Calderdale Council.

“My husband tried to explain about different types of assistance dogs with different coats, but he didn’t appear interested,” said Carol, 41, of Wheatley, Halifax.

“I became aware that we were not being allowed in and I felt quite upset as the pub had been recommended as a good place to eat and we had family staying with us as we were going on holiday together.

“He did offer to put us in the pub area rather than in the restaurant, but nobody else was in there and we felt if we couldn’t eat with everyone else then we wouldn’t stay.

“It’s about educating people, as they are used to seeing blind people who have dogs with yellow coats, but people don’t realise that there are dogs for other disabilities.

“Scooby is trained to lie down on a mat so he does not bother anybody.”

Michele Jennings, Chief Executive of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People said: “Hundreds of deaf people in the UK rely on their hearing dog to help them every day, and it’s upsetting and degrading when they are turned away from a business.

“The Equality Act 2010 states that service providers must not treat people with disabilities less favourably if they have an assistance dog, so we want to ensure that all businesses are aware of this.”

Hearing dogs complete a rigorous 18 month training programme, in which they are trained to lie quietly on the floor in a restaurant or café, and taught not to wander freely around the premises.

Bob Thompson, owner of the Horse and Jockey pub, said: “I didn’t understand what an assistance dog was, but when she told me, I understood and tried to accomodate her in the pub area.

“There is no real difference between the two areas - the pub area is used for dining too as an overspill. Some people don’t like to eat when animals are about, so I was just trying to accomodate everybody.”