Guide dog barred from supermarket
Blind woman was told to leave her Guide Dog outside shop
A BLIND woman hit out at discrimination after being told she would have to leave a city supermarket unless she tied her guide dog up outside.
Georgina Liddle has been partially blind since birth. She has no sight in her left eye and hardly any vision beyond blurry shapes in her right eye. She has had her guide dog Tamara for the last six years.
However, Ms Liddle was stunned when a security guard ordered the dog out of her local Londis store on Niddrie Mains Road, Craigmillar, Edinburgh. Ms Liddle said that the bullying guard refused to back down or let her speak to the manager even when she explained that it was a guide dog.
The store has a sign on its front door clearly no dogs are allowed except guide dogs. Ms Liddle, who works on the production line at the nearby Blindcraft factory, had visited the store the day before with her dog Tamara without any problems. The manager of the store has since offered Ms Liddle a full apology and pledged to investigate the incident further.
‘I can't find anything without Tamara, and so I was just amazed when this security guard asked me to tie her up outside,’ she said. ‘It has happened to me in the past at other shops. I don't know why it is that people can't understand what we need guide dogs for. I wouldn't be able to find anything in the shop without Tamara, but this guy kept insisting she wasn't allowed. I was a bit upset that no one else stepped in to help. It sounded as if there were quite a few people in the store at the time.’
Allan Carmouch, the store manager, apologised in person to Ms Liddle for what he said was inexcusable behaviour.
‘When I was told about this I was shocked as allowing guide dogs into the store is part of the basic training for staff here,’ he said. ‘The security guard was provided by another firm, and I have been in touch with them about this matter and will be taking this further, as I think Ms Liddle deserves a personal apology from the guard. I will need to ensure that in future their staff are properly trained, or we will have to find a new security company.
Chris Dyson from Guide Dogs for the Blind Association commented: ‘It is disappointing that Georgina's guide dog was not allowed into the premises. However, we are encouraged that the owner of the shop appear to have realised an error was made; acknowledging that under the law working guide dogs are allowed to accompany their owners into supermarkets and other service locations.
‘A guide dog provides freedom and independence for its owner. It is therefore unacceptable for a visually impaired person to be guided to the front door of a shop - only to be told their four-legged companion can't accompany them inside.
‘We encourage all service providers to ensure their frontline and contractual staff understand their requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act.’