Blind Port Talbot woman ordered out of hotel in England as staff thought assistance dog was just a pet
A blind woman from Port Talbot has claimed she was forced to leave a Premier Inn hotel in England because staff did not think she “looked blind” or that her golden retriever was an assistance dog.
Angharad Paget-Jones, 29, who is blind, told the PA news agency that she was forced to leave the Premier Inn in Enfield on November 5 because she supposedly broke the group’s policy about not bringing pets onto the premises, with the exception of assistance dogs, despite having proof.
She said that about 10pm at night, her boyfriend took her dog Tudor for a walk, when staff at reception asked for proof that the dog was a guide dog.
“He pointed to the Guide Dogs leads and the tag he wears on his collar, but was asked for documentation”, the disability rights campaigner from Port Talbot, Wales said.
“My boyfriend said I was asleep and I would bring them the documents in the morning and not long after that, there was a knock on the door, which woke me up.”
Ms Paget-Jones said that she had to use the door to “cover her modesty” as she was in a “state of undress” and was asked to provide “documents that just don’t exist for a guide dog” by people who never identified themselves to her.
She responded by asking for the manager and closed the door but was later made to leave the hotel because staff said her closing the door was aggressive.
Staff also said the Assistance Dogs UK ID shown to identify Tudor as being a guide dog was something that “could be bought by anyone on the internet”. Ms Paget-Jones said this is not correct.
She said: “As we were going to the lift, you could hear (staff) saying, ‘She’s pretending that’s a guide dog, she doesn’t even look blind.”
Ms Paget-Jones said that being left to wait in the cold on Bonfire Night also had a negative impact on Tudor, which does not like fireworks.
“And they made me vulnerable as I am disabled and had to wait in the cold”, she added.
Ms Paget-Jones, who recently fronted Guide Dogs’ Open Doors campaign which hopes to bring an end to access refusals, is in the process of taking legal action against the company.
A spokesperson from Premier Inn told PA: “At Premier Inn we take the needs and equal treatment of all our guests extremely seriously and all team members receive disability awareness training to make sure our guests all get the same warm welcome and enjoy a great stay.
“We were shocked and appalled to see the upsetting Twitter thread alleging that a guest was asked to leave one of our hotels in Enfield.
“An urgent investigation is already underway 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.”
Blanche Shackleton, head of policy, public affairs and campaigns at 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.
“The law is clear, and yet guide dog owners continue to experience access refusals, which are almost always illegal.
“We are deeply concerned to hear Angharad’s account of her experience.”
A petition which has close to 10,000 signatures and encourages businesses to have “open doors” for guide dogs has been created by the charity here.
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I can sympathise with this lady, as like me she has a non-obvious disability. I’ve heard that the Cymry government intends to issue identity Lanyard cards which show a person has a serious disability which is not obvious.
I think that sounds like a good idea.
But it’s still incredibly sad that such solutions are needed in these days of extremist ideologically driven divisions on just about everything, that ignorant zealots feel they have the right to aggressively demand that people merely living their lives, justify their own existence to them, just to avoid violence.
What ever happened to decent human behaviour?
The bearers of such lanyards shoud be prepared to read them out, because the aggressive orcs will not be able to read them.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to be kind to a disabled person.
Unbelievable that these things still occur!!
Imagine if “not looking blind enough” to an unqualified hotelier were sufficient cause to eject.
One might suspect the unqualified hotelier were in some way intellectually disabled.
Just plain thick, no need to dress it up. A segment of the people they employ are plain stupid. Combine that with an appetite for aggression i.e bullying and you end up with nasty ba*t*rds. If the employee had been given a modicum of training in dealing with customers Premier should sack the offensive creep for failing to adhere to policy. Of course, there is a suspicion that such training seldom happens as corners are cut in the name of cost reduction.
Was it just that you were Welsh??
You want to remove that chip off your shoulder
That’s just you trying to create a narrative that doesn’t exist within this article. The fact the it was an English hotel is obviously irrelevant.
“all team members receive disability awareness training”
That statement is a lie, because if it was the case, this would not have happened.
There is no excuse;
Even if it was the case that the dog was not a genuine registered dog for the blind, to eject guests late at night, leaving them no means of shelter is nothing less than gross misbehaviour.
If the hotel wishes to protect its reputation, then all those involved in this ill-mannered matter must be sacked for their actions, as they have showed themselves ill-equipped for their positions.
I myself always use premier inn when working away.
Think that I’ll boycott premier inn from now
You won’t be the only one who will be doing that.
Bad publicity always guarantees trading losses.
The Premier Inn won’t be so Premier after this, especially their hotel in Enfield, as they will soon discover.