Onlookers were ‘shocked’ to witness ‘a blind man and his guide dog thrown out for literally no reason’, he said.The incident, at the Royal Pavillion pub in Ramsgate, Kent, on Saturday lunchtime, has been described as a ‘misunderstanding’ by Wetherspoons – who confirmed assistance dogs are allowed inside their venues.
But Keith, who is registered blind, after being diagnosed with a degenerative genetic condition when he was 11, said he felt staff had ‘contempt for my disability’. Keith and Carolyn registered their arrival on the NHS test and trace app, before he told front of house staff he was blind, he said, and asked to be seated in the upstairs outdoor terrace.They also asked the waitress for some water for assistance dog Dottie.
Keith claims another member of staff returned with a water bowl, before telling them the dog was not allowed on the premises and allegedly accusing them of ‘sneaking in via a fire escape’.
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He then demanded to speak to the manager – who also is said to have told them to leave.
‘Extremely shaken, my wife and I made our way downstairs via the lift and went to reception to speak with the barmaid that had advised us originally when we arrived,’ Keith said.
‘She told us that she had told the manager that we’d entered the premises properly, that she had identified we had an assistance dog and told us to sit where we had ordered our drinks.’
The manager then confirmed it was a misunderstanding – but still insisted they ‘should leave’, Keith said.
Keith, who has since made a complaint, said: ‘It was like a punch in the guts, I’ve been shaken up all weekend. It felt like they had contempt for my disability.’A Wetherspoon spokesman said the second staff member ‘had seen the dog in the upstairs balcony, but could not see the harness.’
‘He was told that dogs were not allowed on the premises and would have to leave,’ he added.
‘The gentleman said he had come in the front door and had checked in. He then told the staff member that he was blind.
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‘The member of staff apologised and asked him to move inside the pub when they were ready as assistance dogs are not allowed on the upstairs balcony.
‘The manager then intervened and apologised to the customer and said he believed the customer had misunderstood the situation and that he wasn’t being asked to leave, but simply to move inside the pub.
‘We reiterate that assistance dogs are allowed in the pub.’
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