Blind man ‘furious’ as restaurant bans guide dog despite informing them before

Blind man ‘furious’ as restaurant bans guide dog despite informing them before

A blind man was left humiliated and angry after he was told to leave a restaurant with his guide dog. Keith Valentine, 55, booked a table with his wife Carolyn and two friends, and stated on his reservation that black labradoodle Dottie would be with him – but they were still stopped at the door.

The CEO of Fight for Sight has dined at Amber Palace, in Broadstairs, Kent, before without problems, only this time they were forced to head home hungry after staff said no dogs were allowed. Keith said: “This is the third time it’s happened to me and I’m furious.

“If I’m being turned away from public places because I have a guide dog, how many other people are getting the same treatment? It’s disgusting in this day and age.”

The dad-of-one was also told he couldn’t go into a Sainsburys story in Wapping, east London, because he had four-year-old Dottie with him.

In October 2020, he was kicked out of the Royal Victoria Pavilion, in Ramsgate – the biggest Wetherpoons in the UK – for the same reason.

He added: “If I’m asking who is meant to be enforcing this law it says a lot.

“Is there any other situation where an individual, whether it be on the basis of colour, creed, sexuality etc, can be refused from having a curry? It’s discrimination and it needs sorting out.

“If that means repeated fines and prosecution then so be it, but the people need to be made aware they can’t get away with this sort of thing.”

Carolyn, 44, said: “There were four of us and I’d booked online and put in the notes clearly stating we had a guide dog.

“To be clear in the past when we ate there they said fine but can you enter via the side entrance. Not okay but we accepted it. This time we arrived and were told ‘No dogs’.

“We explained she was a guide dog, at which the waiter went to check and came back and said ‘No dogs’.

“When I said we have eaten and pointed to the table we have eaten before that was occupied by four patrons they then offered to move, bless them.

“But we refused their offer based in the fact that patrons should not be trying to accommodate us on behalf of the ignorance of the restaurant staff. I’m getting tired of this.”

Pal Julia Fisher – who had gone for the meal with Keith and Carolyn and her husband Baz on August 17 – said: “We felt uncomfortable and the staff need to be trained.

“Obviously it’s illegal not to allow a service dog in and the whole incident could have been handled better.

“It must be a nightmare for Keith and Carolyn not knowing if they’re going to be allowed in places with a guide dog.”

The foursome were eventually offered a table but declined because of the way they’d been treated.

They said they didn’t want to eat or spend money in a place which had blatantly broken the law.