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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Morrisons apologises after turning away customer with assistance dog

A supermarket has apologised for turning a woman with an assistance dog away.

Sophie Wilson was at the Morrisons Supermarket in Mornington Road, Bolton, with her German Shepherd Lady, when she says she was approached by the manager about the dog’s lack of a vest identifying it as an assistance dog.

The 27-year-old says she explained that the dog, Lady, didn’t need a vest legally and she had ID.

The Bolton News: Lady the assistance dogLady the assistance dog (Image: Sophie Wilson)

Sophie said the incident left her upset and she is keen to raise awareness of the importance of assistance dogs.

She said: “I would like to raise awareness of assistance dogs after a very negative experience with the manager of Morrisons Mornington Road store.

“I am type 1 diabetic and have bipolar, and my German Shepherd is my assistance dog in training for both illnesses.

“I choose not to have her wear a vest identifying her as an assistance dog as I feel it makes my invisible illness very visible.

“The law does not require her to wear a vest. I have proof in my emails that she is registered, and I have an ID card coming with her registration details.”

Sophie said: “The manager of the store approached me and insisted she must wear a vest.

“I informed him the law does not require her to wear one, but I can show him proof. He kept insisting that ‘I am 99 per cent certain she has to wear one’ and I replied with ‘and I’m 100 per cent certain you are wrong’.”

The Bolton News: Lady with Sophie WilsonLady with Sophie Wilson (Image: Sophie Wilson)

“I tried to remain calm and a lot of customers stopped to watch.

“It was highly embarrassing.”

Sophie said she would also like to highlight the fact that assistance dogs are not dogs to be petted or touched as this can distract them from doing their job.

A spokesman for Morrisons said: “We can confirm that this is an isolated incident and are very sorry that the customer was turned away on this occasion.

“We allow all assistance dogs instore with or without a vest and are working with the store to offer further training to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Over 7000 people rely on a highly trained assistance dog from one of Assitant Dogs UK’s members, enjoying the additional emotional benefits and greater independence that such dogs bring.

Assistance dogs are trained to support disabled people and people with medical conditions in a variety of ways. From guide dogs to medical alert dogs, from autism dogs to hearing dogs, assistance dogs change, and often save, the lives of their owners and their families.



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