£750 for victim of guide dog ban

A blind woman has won £750 compensation after she and her guide dog were refused entry to seven restaurants in one town because they operated blanket "no dogs" policies.

Glenda Holding decided to act after her party of 18 people was refused entry to an Indian restaurant in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, which said it could not accommodate her guide dog, Lourel.

Supported by the Royal National Institute for the Blind, she won her case at the Watford County Court under the Disability Discrimination Act, which exempts guide dogs from such bans.

Catherine Casserley, who represented Mrs Holding, said: "RNIB knows that many blind and partially sighted people are turned away from restaurants not in person but when they telephone for a booking. This case demonstrates that this behaviour is no longer acceptable and can be costly for the restaurants involved."

The RNIB, which provides free legal help in such cases, said many business considered "disability issues" as an aspect of customer services rather than potential discrimination cases.

Mrs Holding said: "Not being allowed to take my guide dog into a restaurant has left me feeling extremely humiliated and embarrassed. All my friends had to change the venue because of this."

Despite winning her case two weeks ago, Mrs Holding and her husband have since been asked to leave a branch of a national chain of stationery retailers.