Disabled Northampton woman to work with restaurant which denied her entry with assistance dog

  • Watch a report about Emma Warren's experience with her assistance dog

A wheelchair user said she is determined to educate people about the rights of assistance dogs after she and her animal were refused entry by a restaurant in an "appalling" incident.

Emma Warren, 26, uses a motorised wheelchair to get around and is also supported by Barty, her five-year-old Labrador.

She said she was left shocked when staff at a restaurant in her home town of Northampton told her she would have to leave as Barty was not allowed inside.

In a Facebook post about the incident, Ms Warren said it was "appalling" that she and her dog had been refused access and pointed out that barring her dog was against the law.

She had tried to show staff at the Yakut Lounge Barty's ID from the charity Assistance Dogs UK but they "refused to look at it". It was only when another customer intervened with the restaurant staff that Ms Warren was allowed to stay with Barty.

Writing on social media, Ms Warren said: "If we don't stand up for our rights and prove a point this kind of discrimination will continue."

Now she is determined to raise awareness of the importance of assistance dogs and that it is illegal to refuse them entry.

Emma Warren wants to educate people about the importance of assistance dogs to people who have physical disabilities. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"An assistance dog makes a real difference to your life. Before I had Barty, I didn't have a lot of independence," said Ms Warren.

"Now I have Barty I have much more independence. I can do things that people without disabilities can do basically because Barty is there."

After the incident, the manager of the restaurant was quick to apologise and posted a message on its Facebook page the next day saying he was sorry for letting his customers down.

"It should never [have] happened. Having now spoken with my staff it is clear that I took it for granted and I will make sure it will never ever happen again, thinking all my staff knew that assistance dogs were allowed in the restaurant," the post said.

"This is totally unacceptable and I take full responsibility for this situation. I have attempted to make contact with all involved and really hope I can make this right for everyone.

"We have made big mistake and we will make sure this never happen again," the post added.

Ms Warren said she planned to meet with the restaurant staff to speak to them about how to accommodate people and their assistance dogs in the future.