A blind couple were refused entry by two restaurants in London’s Leicester Square because of their guide dogs.
Husband and wife Siobhan Meade and Sean Dilley, who are both registered blind, were hoping to enjoy a nice meal out together in London’s bustling Leicester Square but were shocked to be refused entry to two separate restaurants, being told they were not allowed to bring their guide dogs in.
Although several London restaurants operate a ‘no dogs’ policy, it is currently illegal under the Equality Act to refuse entry to guide dogs and their owners, because they are classed as mobility aids. In an interview with the BBC detailing their experience, Meade said she was left feeling “crushed” by the situation and that the ordeal left her feeling like a “second-class citizen”.
Recounting the events, Meade told the BBC: “It left us feeling completely crushed. I mean one is bad enough but then having two after one another is just soul destroying. I went home and I felt so ashamed and it makes me feel different.”
The experience is particularly relevant to Meade, who works for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Her husband, meanwhile, works as a journalist for the BBC.
The two restaurants in question are Filipino fried chicken chain restaurant Jollibee and pizzeria and steakhouse Little Italy. Both restaurants have since issued apologies to the couple. In a statement, Jollibee said: “All our staff are trained on the rules regarding the entry of guide dogs into our stores. However, it is clear we need to revisit this training.”
It is a legal right for guide dogs to be let into restaurants with their owners, but to discover restaurants which will welcome any and all dogs with open arms, check out our pick of London’s most dog-friendly restaurants.