Blind woman thrown out of Buxton Pound World

Patricia Fletcher and her guide dog Topsy
Patricia Fletcher and her guide dog Topsy

A visually impaired woman was left humiliated after being thrown out of a Buxton shop for having her guide dog with her.

Patricia Fletcher said she was “really embarrassed” after she was told to leave Pound World by a male employee on Good Friday.

The 62-year-old said she tried to explain to the member of staff that Topsy was a guide dog and was entitled to enter the Spring Gardens store.

But he ignored her and yelled at her to get out of the independent discount store, shouting: “No dogs!”

She said: “I was asked to leave because I had a dog. She’s a working dog. I got my folder out to prove that she’s allowed in shops with me but he didn’t want to know. He just shouted at me so I left.”

Patricia has since reported the shop to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and complained to Buxton Town Hall and Derbyshire County Council, as well as asking for advice from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

She added: “I was really embarrassed; it was terrible. I’m not totally blind, I have a tiny bit of vision but I do need a guide dog. I’ve never been treated that way before or told to leave a shop and I’ve had Topsy for four years.

“She’s not a naughty dog, she’s very well-behaved in public. She wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

Kelly Dove, community engagement officer for the Nottingham mobility team of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, said: “It’s upsetting that one of our guide dog owners and her guide dog has been denied access into a shop in Buxton.

“A guide dog is a mobility aid, which is highly-trained and consequently well behaved, especially when working. It is against the law for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably because of their disability.

“Part of this is making reasonable adjustments for disabled people. This is likely to include an amendment of a ‘no dogs’ policy to allow access for guide dogs and other assistance dogs onto their premises.”

No-one from Pound World, which is not affiliated with the national chain Poundworld, was available for comment as the Advertiser went to press.