I was matched with Unis when I was 16 and over the past 4 years have been subjected to terrible discrimination simply because people either do not follow the law or have no respect for it or people like myself.
Denying guide dog owners access to the majority of places is illegal yet it goes on all the time, sadly there is little support for people like me who often feel very alone and unprotected by a society that often appears not to care.
Only the other day a taxi was ordered and on mentioning I had Unis with me all of a sudden the company had no availability! This is nothing rare, I’ve ordered a taxi before now and not mentioned Unis and been refused entry, no reason just NO!
Almost a year ago I was staying with my grandfather in Wallasey.
On the evening of 27 July 2014 we decided to go for an early evening Indian meal.
I have been to Wallasey lots of times, having family live there and it is coincidently the place where the whole Guidedog movement began in October 1931, something the people of The Wirral are very proud of and rightly so.
However, seems not everybody in the area is as accepting or understanding of the laws with regard to accessibility for Guidedog owners and their Guidedogs!
We arrived at the Tandoori Mahal on King Street, Wallasey, apparently the oldest Indian restaurant in the area, just after 6pm (opening time) my grandfather told me the restaurant was empty.
On entering the restaurant we were told Unis was not permitted on the premises. My grandad and I told the two men at the restaurant it is illegal to deny Unis and I to which they replied that they knew it to be illegal but that their boss didn’t like dogs as they “scared away the customers!” strange as the restaurant was empty.
It was very clear Unis and I were not welcome.
My grandad pursued things as I left the premises in tears, not only did I feel humiliated I was made to feel like I and my needs were unimportant.
As my grandad turned to leave having had his say to the two men another man appeared at the door, he was, apparently, the owner and told my grandfather that No dogs, Guidedogs included would be allowed in his restaurant!
All three men knew the law and all three men willing to illegally deny access.
I was distraught but so was my grandfather who was almost in disbelief at the complete and utter disrespect of myself, Unis and the law, that upset me even more.
We went to another restaurant that evening and the following day contacted my mother who decided enough is enough and contacted Guidedogs for the Blind in Liverpool, they offered to call on the restaurant to “educate” and also contacted RNIB legal team to discuss the possible way forward – I was and still am very angry to be advised not to contact the media as it is my belief that bad publicity costs money and this would work in the favour of Guidedog owners and make others think twice about denying access.
To cut a long story short I was left by Guidedogs for the Blind to deal with RNIB’s legal team who advised of the options.
I decided, with the financial help of my parents that I would pursue the matter and even after the restaurant was served with the relevant documents they had no answers for their unlawful behaviour and I therefore obtained Judgement against them, they ignored the Court documents and on 21 April 2015 a Warrant was issued to be followed up by the local bailiff.
The debt remains outstanding even though the restaurant remains open and the owners still in the local area!
This is nothing out of the ordinary, it happens all the time. I do not feel protected by the law – I personally think trial by media works better than the law which really is alarming.
I’d still like the Wallasey media to get onto this because at this exact moment in time I have been wronged, it’s been proved in law and yet I am still the loser – how can that ever be right?
Things really do need to change!
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