'I was really upset' - taxi refused to take guide dog and his owner

Marc and his guide dog, Inca. Credit: ITV

Three quarters of assistance dog owners surveyed by charity Guide Dogs say they are regularly refused access to restaurants, shops or public transport.

Marc Gulwell, from Bristol, told ITV News he has recently been denied his right to take a taxi: "I was on my way to a cricket event for work and the driver refused to pick me up because he didn’t want to take a guide dog.

"I made him aware that it was illegal, which he should have known anyway, but he basically just said ‘no, I’m not taking you’.

"I can handle that situation quite well, I’m quite a tough-minded person but I’m worried that other people are going to be in a similar situation and not be able to deal with it.

"To be honest with you I was really upset at the time and I got even more upset afterwards. I didn’t realise how upset I was going to be.

"I’ve had quite a few instances where drivers have questioned it but then when they realise it’s an assistance dog they’ve picked me up but in this one particular case he was quite rude about it which was quite upsetting and actually made me quite angry.

"I’m a working man and I have places to get to, I have deadlines to meet and so I can’t really afford to have drivers leave me in places where I don’t really know where I am.

"I implore people to follow the laws and don’t refuse dogs, they are amazing creatures and they help blind and visually impaired people so much. 

"Without them many people would be lost."

Marc was refused entry to a taxi in Bristol. Credit: ITV News

Jenny Langley, a guide dog owner from Exeter, said: "I’ve had lots of taxi refusals where the driver will say ‘no I don't take dogs’.

"It makes me really sad and hurt and the last thing I want is having to fight for my rights, it just makes me really angry that it highlights how different I am and I don’t like that really."

Under the Equality Act, guide dog owners have the right to enter the majority of services, premises and vehicles with their dog.

Right of entry laws also apply to all registered and trained assistance dogs like those which help with mobility, hearing and medical detection. 

Assistance dogs are used to help adults and children with disabilities. Credit: ITV News

Vicky Worthington from Assistance Dogs UK said: “Assistance dog users should be given the same access as everybody else, so there’s lots of things that service providers can do. 

"They could put a sticker in the window that says ‘all assistance dogs welcome’.

"A lot of shops or services at the moment will have signs that say ‘no dogs except guide dogs’ or just ‘no dogs’ and it’s important to remember that assistance dogs shouldn’t be treated as pet dogs so they should be allowed to come in with the people that they’re supporting."

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