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Blind Woman And Guide Dog Kicked Out Of London Premier Inn

November 14, 2022

 

A blind woman and her guide dog were thrown out of a London Premier Inn in the night after she was accused of lying about her assistance dog.

Angharad Paget-Jones, 29, said she was woken up and asked for “proof” her dog Tudor was a registered guide dog.

She claimed that after providing a Guide Dogs ID booklet, security staff accused Tudor of being a “fake” guide dog.

Premier Inn said it was urgently investigating the allegations.

It is usually illegal to refuse access to disabled people with guide dogs.

Ms Paget-Jones, a data analyst and disability rights campaigner from Port Talbot, said she was “forced to leave the Premier Inn at Enfield, in the middle of the night” during a stay on Saturday.
‘No dogs’

She posted about her experience on Twitter, saying that despite checking into the hotel smoothly at about 20:00 GMT with her guide dog Tudor in a fluorescent guiding harness, the problem arose when her boyfriend went to walk him after she had fallen asleep in the evening.

Ms Paget-Jones claimed hotel staff stopped her boyfriend on his way back by saying “no dogs”, and “was asked for proof” that Tudor was a guide dog.

“My boyfriend said he was a guide dog, and said he was sure that I would be able to provide ID for him and I would be able to get this to them in the morning,” she explained.

“They wouldn’t drop it and came up to the room and ended up disturbing me as I was half asleep. No one was telling me what was going on, I asked for a manager to help resolve the situation.

“I closed the door for my own modesty as I was just in a T-shirt and underwear, but the staff continued to demand evidence Tudor was a guide dog.”

Ms Paget-Jones added that “a male security guard joined the hotel staff”, and “they continued to tell me to leave the hotel” and saying Tudor “looked like a fake guide dog”.

“The staff used a master key to open the door, barging in demanding proof Tudor was a guide dog,” she said.

“I showed them the yellow book which outlines a guide dog and Tudor’s harness, which has Guide Dogs branding on, but they said this wasn’t sufficient evidence and told us to leave.

“My partner ended up calling the police, but they did nothing, and we got thrown out.”

The BBC has seen a video clip of part of the incident, which appears to show Ms Paget-Jones’s yellow ID book on the bed in the hotel room.

In the footage her boyfriend can be heard on the phone to police, while a young female staff member tells them to “leave”, saying “if you have a guide dog you would know to bring documentation”.

Ms Paget-Jones said: “I felt discriminated against, harassed and as though my privacy had been invaded. We ended up staying with my partner’s parents, but I ended up having a panic attack that night.”

She added she would be taking legal action against Premier Inn.

The hotel firm issued a statement saying it was “shocked and appalled” to hear about the allegations.

A spokesperson said: “An urgent investigation is already under way with that site to find out exactly what’s happened, and we’ve reached out to the Twitter user to fully understand the circumstances of what has taken place and apologise for the upset caused.”

The business added it takes “a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination”, and “all team members receive disability awareness training”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says displaying an ID booklet for assistance dogs “is not a legal requirement, and assistance dog users should not be refused a service simply because they do not possess an ID book”.

Blanche Shackleton from Guide Dogs said: “Guide dog owners deserve to be able to live their lives the way they want and feel confident, independent, and supported in the world.”

She added: “The law needs to be stronger, so we’re calling on the government to end access refusals and ensure that, unless there is a valid legal reason, that guide dog owners are welcome with open doors when they use businesses, shops and taxis.”

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