A disabled woman is suing after she and her guide dog were kicked out of a Premier Inn because ‘she didn’t look blind’. Angharad Paget-Jones says she was discriminated against, bullied and had her privacy taken away from her when staff forced their way into her hotel room in the middle of the night.
And the data analyst says what happened on Saturday made her feel ashamed of her disability for the first time, and she is now afraid of hotel stays.
Staff at the hotel in Enfield, north London, had no problem when she checked in with her guide dog Tudor.
But a few hours later, around 10 p.m., his partner took the animal out on his guide dog leash, so he could still be identified as such, and they were stopped by staff on their way home.
Her partner was asked for proof that Tudor was a guide dog and showed staff his lead, adding that Ms Paget-Jones would give more evidence in the morning if needed, but it was late and she was sleeping.
The 29-year-old said: “They didn’t drop it and came up in the room and ended up disturbing me when I was half asleep.
“No one told me what was going on, I asked a manager to help me resolve the situation.
“I closed the door for my own modesty as I was only in a t-shirt and underwear, but staff continued to demand proof that Tudor was a guide dog.
“A male security guard joined the hotel staff and I kept asking for a manager so I could get dressed, but they kept telling me to leave the hotel.”
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“The staff used a master key to open the door, bursting into the demanding evidence that Tudor was a guide dog, I showed them the yellow book that describes a guide dog and Tudor’s harness is branded Guide Dogs, but they said that was not enough proof and told us to leave.
“My partner ended up calling the police, but they didn’t do anything and we were kicked out. It was late at night the night of a bonfire, and I’m scared of the fireworks, c It was terrifying to then be out in the dark as a blind man in a place I didn’t know.
“Staff were yelling at me, saying no dogs were the policy and that Tudor looked like a fake guide dog. I felt discriminated against, harassed and even though my privacy had been invaded.
“We ended up staying with my partner’s parents, but I ended up having a panic attack that night. A few days later, I’m still in shock walking down the street thinking about what happened. happened to me.
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Assistance dog owners are not required by law to provide identification. But Ms Paget-Jones, from Port Talbot, Wales, carries an ADUK identification booklet, which proves Tudor is a guide dog.
Premier Inn policies state that registered assistance dogs are permitted in hotels.
Blanche Shackleton, Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “Guide dog owners deserve to be able to live their lives the way they want and to feel confident, independent and supported in the world.
“The law is clear, yet guide dog owners continue to face denials of access, which are almost always illegal.
“We are deeply concerned to hear Angharad’s account of his experience. Not only did this incident seem scary at the time, but it also caused her to have a panic attack later that evening.
A Premier Inn spokesperson said: “At Premier Inn we take the needs and equal treatment of all our guests very seriously and all team members receive disability awareness training to ensure that our guests all receive the same warm welcome and have an excellent stay.
“We were shocked and appalled to see the heartbreaking Twitter feed alleging a guest was asked to leave one of our hotels in Enfield.
“An urgent investigation is already underway with this site to find out exactly what happened and we have reached out to the Twitter user to fully understand the circumstances of what happened and apologize for the upset caused. while we cannot comment on the outcome of specific investigations, we adopt a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination.”