A BLIND woman and her guide dog were barred from eating in a city centre restaurant after being told they were a hygiene risk.
Joyce Yates, who is severely partially sighted, said she was told she and labrador retriever Questa were not welcome at Bollywood Lounge because of a ban on dogs.
Charity Guide Dogs For The Blind has slammed the management for breaking discrimination laws in the Equality Act 2010.
Mrs Yates, of Melbourne Avenue, Wrenthorpe, told staff over the phone that she had a guide dog when making the booking for 20 people on Monday.
She said: “They said my guide dog would not be allowed into the restaurant because of food and hygiene reasons.
“I explained that she was an assistance dog and that they were breaking the law - but this person couldn’t seem to understand. If I had just gone down to the restaurant without calling I would have been completely humiliated, it would have been so embarrassing.”
Mrs Yates says she and hercolleagues from Pinderfields Hospital went instead to Mumbai onWestgate, where staff welcomed Questa.
A Guide Dogs spokesperson said: “Guide dog owners and other assistance dog owners rely on their dogs for mobility and independence and this is recognised in the Disability Discrimination Act, now part of the Equality Act 2010, which requires access without discrimination for blind and partially sighted and other disabled people - including those with guide or assistance dogs.
“Staff at restaurants and food shops often cite hygiene issues - the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers has confirmed that guide and assistance dogs should have access to these premises and that there is no conflict with hygiene laws.”
The Express tried to contact Bollywood Lounge but no-one was available to comment.