Restaurant manager vows to change 'no dogs' policy after investigation
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AN APOLOGETIC restaurant owner has vowed to change his 'no dogs' policy after admitting he wrongly refused entry to a blind man and his guide dog.
Muhammed Saleem, manager of Shahzad Indian restaurant, in Park Street, turned away blind charity chief Andy Shipley because 'customers did not want a dog in the restaurant'.
After The Observer article on June 1 reporting on the incident, Slough Borough Council immediately launched an investigation, with officers speaking 'at length' to Mr Saleem.
The restaurant manager has agreed to put up an 'assistant dogs allowed' sign, make a donation to the Fieldfare Trust, the disability charity of which Mr Shipley is chair, and offer a free meal to the party of six who were turned away.
Mr Shipley, 48, from Bucks, said: "Mr Saleem was profusely apologetic and made the point it was something he got wrong.
"He had several meetings with his staff to say that and it seems the situation has been remedied."
Law states restaurants are obligated to make allowances for guests with
Mr Shipley has a deteriorating eye condition that severely limits his vision and he relies on guide dog Winnie to get around.
Mr Saleem said: "It was just a misunderstanding. I'm deeply concerned why it happened and I will be putting stickers in the window to show we accept guide dogs.
"I will also print a copy of the law so people can see what it says."
He also said he will be sending a letter to Mr Shipley - outlining the new policy.
Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS), an independent disability charity, wrote to Slough Borough Council after The Observer article.
Andrew Clark, chair of the BuDS trustees, said: "It was quite disgraceful that a blind person and an assistance dog should be refused entry.
"We are delighted that Slough Borough Council acted so quickly to carry out its own legal duty to prevent illegal discrimination against disabled people."
Council leader Rob Anderson added: "It is down to proprietors to be aware of the law, and I hope this serves as a reminder to all businesses of their legal obligations.
"My thanks go to the teams at Slough Borough Council who were involved in this matter.
"I am glad that this incident was dealt with promptly and with a satisfactory outcome for all concerned."
This article appeared in Slough Observer 20 Jun 12