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Blind Woman Told To Leave Liverpool Asda Because Of Guide Dog

October 25, 2015

A blind woman says she “died inside” when she and her guide dog were told to leave an Asda store in Liverpool – as shocked shoppers looked on.

Louise Cannon, accompanied by her harnessed German Shepherd, Harmony, was planning on doing her regular shop with her 12-year-old niece at her local Stonycroft Asda on Green Lane on Friday afternoon.

She says that when she entered the store, a security guard repeatedly told her “go outside” because “no dogs” were allowed.

The embarrassed 34-year-old charity worker says she told the man her dog was a guide dog but the employee still told her to leave the store.

Last night, the American-owned supermarket retailer said it was “genuinely sorry” about the “unacceptable” incident.

Louise, who says she is registered blind, said: “My niece Abbie said, ‘Aunty Lou, that man’s talking to you’.

“I asked him what he’d said and he told me, ‘no dogs allowed, go outside’.

“I told him, ‘she’s a guide dog’ but he said it again, ‘no dogs allowed, go outside’.

“I told him that it was against the law to stop me coming in with Harmony but he continued to tell me to leave.”

By this point, Louise says she was “dying inside with embarrassment” as more and more attention was being drawn to her as people looked on.

Angry customers swore and shouted at the security guard. A female shopper told him, “she’s got every right to shop in here”, said Louise.

A defiant Louise asked the guard to go and get his manager.

Green-haired Louise, who says she doesn’t “look blind”, says Harmony was wearing her “working” harness.

Eventually, the man complied and the store manager apologised to Louise – who, after the “mortifying” ordeal, got on with her usual shop.

She said: “It was so embarrassing, I was mortified. When I went to the tills everyone was talking about it – I felt like dying inside.

Holding back tears, Louise told the ECHO: “Usually I’m so confident and I deal with lots of situations but this has really thrown me.

“I won’t go in there again because I won’t be able to see if it’s the same security guard who made me feel so vulnerable. That’s a massive part of my independence gone – and I’ve worked so hard for that.

“Security guards are supposed to protect you – not intimidate you.”

To get home, an upset and shaken Louise had to cross a busy Prescot Road while responsible for Harmony who she has had since July, and her young relative.

A spokesperson for Asda said: “We are genuinely sorry for how the security guard on duty in our store treated this customer, it was not acceptable.

“The colleague isn’t originally from the UK and wasn’t familiar with guide dogs being allowed inside shops.

“He has now been retrained.”

Bradbury Fields – a Liverpool charity for blind and partially sighted people – says more needs to be done to better inform retail and restaurant workers about the legal rights of guide dogs and their owners under the UK Equality Act.

In September a visually impaired teenager was ordered to leave Liverpool One’s Yee Rah Thai restaurant after the manager told her “no pets allowed”.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2015 4:28 pm

    “He has now been retrained.”

    Should have been sacked and banned from holding an SIA license for life

  2. October 25, 2015 5:01 pm

    Sorry but erm- what is an SIA license?

    • maxwell1957 permalink
      October 25, 2015 6:14 pm

      The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry. They are an independent body reporting to the Home Secretary, under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

  3. mili68 permalink
    October 25, 2015 5:37 pm

    Reblogged this on disabledsingleparent.

  4. mili68 permalink
    October 25, 2015 5:38 pm

    Tweeted @melissacade68

  5. mili68 permalink
    October 25, 2015 5:39 pm

    Disability discrimination me thinks?!
    Law breaking by the shop; how can this be right??!

  6. October 25, 2015 5:58 pm

    Reblogged this on lawrencerowntree.

  7. October 25, 2015 8:12 pm

    I was discriminated on Thursday in Basildon in the most dreadful way because of my Hearing Dog, I ended up really ill afterwards and now got severe IBS on top of all my other problems. Going to look into legal action against the shop as they broke the law three times. I am still very upset. Hearing Dogs going to get a report tomorrow. It is the responsibility of shops who serve the public to be up to date with law and legislation and Assistance Dogs and sadly a lot of them are not – I also got discriminated badly in Patisserie Valerie Edgware Road London yesterday which triggered another IBS episode. UPSET

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