On 15/11/09 the manager of J.J. Moons in Ruislip Manor, a Weatherspoons pub, tried to throw my mother out for having an assistance dog (Hearing Dog) with her. She was waiting to meet me and naturally, she refused to leave. The dog was wearing its clearly labelled “HEARING DOG FOR THE DEAF” jacket, was sitting quietly because he was working, and my mum (an OAP) was just sitting having a coffee.
As I arrived the manager was aggressively denying all knowledge of the existence of Hearing Dogs and demanding that she leave the pub. Mum couldn’t lipread him, he couldn’t understand her and mum was clearly upset. He refused to read the government-issued card she carries that says that hearing dogs are allowed in pubs etc, so I read it out loud to him. I got a bit arsy with him and he told me not to be aggressive (!). After repeatedly telling him she is legally allowed to have an assistance dog with her, he finally backed down, making out as if he was doing us a favour.
Later, my mum told me that before I arrived he had tried to physically push her out. Not hard, but he did push her towards the door. I wasn’t there to witness and so verify that, but if she says it happened then I take her word for it. She has no reason to make that up.
I made a complaint to the head office. On 27/11 I received the following reply:
Thank you for your telephone call to our office.
We are very sorry to hear of the problems which were experienced during your recent visit to J.J Moons, when your mother was asked to leave as it was not recognised at the time that your mother had an assistance dog with her.
We would like to assure you that we have no issue with assistance dogs, whether they are in training or fully trained, being brought into our pubs, as we recognise their importance. However, there is a equirement to ensure that they are properly identifiable, by means of their leash, collar or harness. It is also beneficial if their owner or trainer carries a form of identification to show their purpose.
We can confirm that the Area Manager for the pub has been made aware of the complaint and will be reviewing it with the Pub Manager and team. There should not be any issue with taking your assistance dog to this, or any of our pubs, in the future.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused by this matter, and thank you for taking the time to contact us.
[Wetherspoons Customer Service Person]
They’re clearly trying to imply that it was my mother’s fault for not showing clearly that he’s as an assistance dog. The dog had on a bright red jacket that stated in big letters “HEARING DOG FOR THE DEAF”, was on a red lead that said the same and she TRIED to showed the manager her official ID card explaining what the dog is and he refused to read it, so I read the card out to him! I told them all this when I complained.
My mother is not keen on going to the press but I want to let people know what complete shits Wetherspoons are. I will be following up on their response by letter. Advice happily received.
This is the reply I have drafted:
Re: Complaint ref [number]
Please find attached a copy of your reply to my complaint regarding my mother being asked to leave J.J. Moons in Ruislip Manor for having an assistance dog. I am not satisfied with your reply and would like to address several points.
The letter states that it was not recognised at the time that my mother had an assistance dog with her. The reason the dog was not recognised as an assistance dog was not due to any neglect on my mother’s part to make it clear, but rather due to the manager’s insistence that he had never heard of Hearing Dogs before. This indicates a significant lack of training and ignorance of the Disability Discrimination Act on his part.
The letter also states that “There is a requirement to ensure that they are properly identifiable, by means of their leash, collar or harness. It is also beneficial if their owner or trainer carries a form of identification to show their purpose.” I would like it acknowledged that, as I explained when I first made the complaint, the dog was wearing a large red coat which said in large letters “HEARING DOG FOR DEAF PEOPLE”. He was also wearing a red leash, with the same lettering on it. My mother presented the dog’s official ID card, which clearly states that assistance dogs are allowed in restaurants and pubs, to the pub manager but he did not read it, so I read it aloud to him. There is absolutely no sense in which the dog was not very clearly identified as an assistance dog, and the implication that this is the reason my mother was asked to leave is insulting and untrue.
If there is any doubt about the above, I recommend that you check the CCTV footage from the pub for the evening of 15/11 from 6pm onwards.
I would appreciate further contact from the Area Manager to acknowledge that the way my mother was treated was nothing to do with the dog not being clearly identified, and was due to poor training and ignorance on the part of the pub manager. I remind you that he tried to physically push my mother, an OAP, out of the pub while directly contravening the Disability Discrimination Act. His behaviour was unacceptable, and I would like this to be acknowledged before I decide which course of action to take next. I have several contacts in the media who I know are interested in the outcome of this incident.
I look forward to hearing from you.
What do you think?