Thirty per cent of Watford food outlets visited by Disability Watford had a problem allowing guide dogs into the premises.

Disability Watford held a walk-about to vet 100 local businesses on their guide dog policies.

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and Watford MP Richard Harrington took the tour blindfolded to get a feel for life as a visually impaired person.

Watford Observer:

Groups of guide dog owners and supporters toured around the town centre and adjoining streets including the Parade, Clarendon Road, High Street, Market street, Lower High Street, King’s street and part of Vicarage Road, concentrating mainly on food outlets.

The organisation’s chairman Leigh Hutchings said they were told to eat outside with the dogs - even though it was raining at the time.

He said: "There were 20 places that when an assistance dog owner tried to take the dogs in there was a problem or it was not straight forward.

"Thirteen of these presented a real or major problem and we had two outright refusals - with these having an outright no dogs allowed policy.

"Even though we had representatives working with us from Guide Dogs for the Blind they still would not allow the dog in."

A further seven establishments in Market Street also took issue with letting assistance dogs into their shops.

Both the Mayor and MP wore blindfolds and glasses to simulate visual impairment.

A rehabilitation officer demonstrated handling a guide dog, how to use a white cane properly and pointed out hazards along the way.

They caught the no. 10 bus to the hospital.

Leigh Hutchings continued: "On this route to the bus stop Dorothy was nearly ridden into by a careless and inconsiderate cyclist.

"Members of the public remonstrated with the cyclist.

"The bus ride was only for one stop, but proved to them the need for audio and visual information to be installed on all our buses."