Woman with guide dog told to eat in another room at Wigan pub

Bridie Littler and guide dog Rauri
Bridie Littler and guide dog Rauri
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A guide dog owner said she left a popular Wigan gastro-pub after being told she had to eat in another room.

Bridie Littler and her guide dog Rauri went to the Bucks Head in Abram on Thursday to have lunch with a friend.

But Mrs Littler says that when they arrived, she was first told dogs were not allowed.

She said: “We went in to the bar area heading towards the restaurant and the bloke said no dogs allowed. I said he was a guide dog and ‘no guide dogs allowed’, he said.

“I said he was breaking the law and guide dogs were allowed.”

The man used the phone to speak to the landlord and returned to Mrs Littler.

She said: “He said he had spoken to his son and he could put me in another room. I said no, I wasn’t going in another room, so I left.”

Mrs Littler, who lives in Hindley Green, described the incident as “very embarrassing and upsetting”.

She said “Why would I be excluded from a restaurant? If I had gone in with a white cane or a wheelchair or crutches perhaps nothing would have been said.”

She instead went to a pub in Golborne, where she said staff welcomed her and Rauri.

Mrs Littler is blind and has had her guide dog Rauri, a black labrador, for around three years.

She said: “Everyone else is fine. It’s a known fact that any assistance dog, either for hearing or the blind or whatever, is allowed anywhere. They have special training where food is.”

She has reported the incident at the Bucks Head to charity Guide Dogs, who will write to the landlord about what happened.

Mrs Littler said she wanted him to be made aware of the rules.

She said: “It’s not nice for any person to be discriminated against and it is discrimination, that’s the only word.”

It is against the law for service providers to treat people with disabilities less favourably because of their disability, or because they have a guide or assistance dog with them.

Disabled people should have the same right to services supplied by shops, banks, hotels, libraries, pubs, taxis and restaurants as everyone else, under the Equality Act 2010.

Landlord Chris Moody told the Post that dogs are allowed outside the Bucks Head but not inside, though guide dogs can go to one of the eating areas.

He said: “There are no dogs allowed in the pub, but we do allow guide dogs in one side.”

He said the pub’s restaurant was small and some of the tables did not have enough space for dogs to lie underneath, so Mrs Littler was offered a table in the area where dogs are allowed.

Mr Moody said: “I feel we have been more than fair offering something much more suitable.”

He continued: “If we have got it wrong, I want to sincerely apologise to her. We believed at the time we were doing the right thing.”

Although landlord Chris Moody said the Bucks Head has an area where customers can take guide dogs, charity Guide Dogs says that does not mean Bridie Littler and her friend had to eat there.

The law states people should not be treated differently because they have a guide dog, which suggests Mrs Littler should have been able to eat in any area.

Zoe Foster, engagement officer for Guide Dogs, said: “What we would expect is they are able to sit absolutely anywhere within the restaurant environment. It’s a person’s choice because that’s what you give any other customer without a dog.

“A guide dog is a working dog, it’s not a pet dog, and that gives them rights.”