Guide dog owner told to leave event

A partially sighted woman was forced to leave a packed car boot sale because she had a guide dog.Jayne Stone had joined the large crowd at the popular bank holiday weekend event at on Sunday.

A partially sighted woman was forced to leave a packed car boot sale because she had a guide dog.

Jayne Stone had joined the large crowd at the popular bank holiday weekend event at on Sunday.

What she hoped would be an enjoyable few hours browsing for bargains with husband Chris came to an abrupt end when officials told her that dogs were banned from the site.

The organisers of the event at Stalham Football Club in Norfolk could now face being prosecuted under the Disability Discrimination Act because they prevented Mrs Stone from accessing places where able-bodied people can go.

Mrs Stone, 50, from Belton, near Yarmouth, has become increasingly reliant on two-year-old guide dog Uschie, who has acted as her eyes for the last 11 months.

She said: "We had only been there a short time when this man came over and told me dogs were banned - I explained she was my guide dog, but he just did not want to know.

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"This man just kept shouting at me, it was very embarrassing and humiliating to be spoken to like that in front of big group of people. I was really shaking. I needed my guide dog at the car boot sale as she helps me get up close to objects so I can see them better and is trained to cope with crowds.

"People just show a bit more consideration when you have a guide dog and my husband is able to go off and do his own thing if he wants to.

"Uschie was in harness and it was perfectly clear that she was a guide dog. The man said she had to leave because there is a problem with dog fouling, but she has been trained only to go on command.

"I was told that I could either carry her or put her in a trolley, which was just a ridiculous suggestion.

"She is very well behaved in harness and acts as my eyes, it has made a huge difference to me; I couldn't cope without her."

The grandmother of three, who is treasurer of the Yarmouth VIP group for visually impaired people, is considering legal action following the incident. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said it was against the law to bar Mrs Stone and her dog as she had the same essential rights to access car boot sale as everyone else who attended.

A spokeswoman said: "She should be afforded the same rights as everyone - complete access."

A ban on dogs was introduced this year at the twice-weekly car boot sale at Stalham football ground.

The event organiser refused to be named but denied he was discrimin-ating against blind people.

He said: "The ground was packed. The lady had a sighted person with her and there was a big sign saying that no dogs were allowed.

"It would not have been safe for the dog with all the people going through there; it would have got trampled.

"Dog mess is a real problem at the site, especially as this is a sports ground, it gets bagged up and thrown in the hedge and then I am responsible for clearing it up.

"Somewhere like this is best suited to going round with a partner, not a guide dog. I know because my grandmother was blind."

Mrs Stone's eyesight has been deteriorating for 18 years. She uses a magnifying glass to read and is unable to make out people's faces.

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