A partially sighted Garston woman has been left disgusted after her guide dog was refused entry into a St Albans bakery.

Emma Handford has vowed never to return to the Bread Shop, in The Maltings, after being turned away from the shop on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old, who also has limited hearing, had popped into the store to buy a sandwich when she was approached and told by the manager that her guide dog, Odene, would have to leave.

Ms Handford of Falcon Way, said: "I told her Odene was a guide dog and it was against the law to refuse me entry.

"However she said dogs were not permitted because it is a food establishment and other customers wouldn’t want a dog indoors.

"I then asked to speak to her manager, to be shocked when she told me she was the manager. I find this most shocking because you expect people in a managerial position to have relevant training regarding disability.

"I was upset and uncomfortable. I had become quite angry that I was shaking."

The NHS employee she said was most shocked when the manager suggested she would stand outside with Odene to enable her to continue her shop.

Ms Handford said: "I couldn’t believe it. This is missing the point really. I rely on Odene because he is my guide dog.

"With a guide dog sometimes you are treated like a VIP and then at other times you are made to feel the lowest of the low."

Under The Disability Discrimination Act guide dogs are now accepted in most public places, including shops and restaurants.

After a heated discussion, the manager said Ms Handford could go in and complete her shop if she could ensure that Odene would not jump up and sniff the food.

However Ms Handford said she was made to feel so uncomfortable that she decided to leave instead.

"Odene is very well behaved. She is a good dog.

"I didn’t want to give them my custom so out of principle I felt better leaving and going elsewhere." Ms Handford added.

Deniz Gul, from the Bread Shop, apologised for any inconvenience caused for Ms Hanford and insisted the shop would never forbid guide dogs in store, saying it was a misunderstanding.
He added members of staff were properly trained to offer customers with guide dogs extra support and help.

Mr Gul declined to comment further until he spoken with the manager in question and Ms Handford on Monday.

In 2011 Ms Handford had a similar experience when Odene was refused entry from Nandos restaurant in St Albans.