Shop sent away blind customer

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A blind woman was told she wasn’t welcome in a Halifax corner shop because she had a guide dog with her.

Tracy Culley-Brown, 48, was asked to leave Local Express on Hanson Lane after she went in with her retriever, Mo.

Distressingly, the shopkeeper said he would not serve her, despite having a guide dog sign on the door.

Mrs Culley-Brown said: “It’s embarrassing to be sent out of a shop in front of other people.

“I needed to have Mo with me because I was a bit unsure of myself, and I haven’t lived in the area for a long time.”

Mrs Culley-Brown was visiting her elderly mother when the disagreement happened.

Although she was brought up in Calderdale, she now lives in Cumbria and relies on Mo when she visits.

Debbie Lindord from the Guide Dogs mobility team said: “You would think in this day and age people would be fully aware of the law. You can’t refuse somebody with an assistant dog.”

“Unfortunately it’s more common than you would think.”

Ms Lindford said this is the second complaint the charity have received this month about businesses in Halifax.

The shop’s owner said: “Some people don’t like dogs, and my store is very small. There were 2 or 3 other customers in the shop at the time.”

Although people sometimes have concerns about hygiene, guide dog owners carry a card endorsed by The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health advising that guide dogs should not be a risk to hygiene.

Guide dogs are groomed regularly and are frequently checked by a vet to ensure that they remain fit and healthy. In eating areas guide dogs are trained to lie beneath the table and not initiate contact with other diners.

Mrs Culley-Brown said: “I think it’s about education. People are getting a lot better.”