A blind woman said she felt like a second-class citizen after being banned from a coffee shop because the owners feared her guide dog could put customers off.
Susan Henshall was asked to leave the White Coffee House in the seaside town of Dovercourt, Essex when staff spotted her two-year-old Labrador guide dog, Usef.
Miss Henshall said owners Gary and Coral Cox told her the cafe had banned all guide dogs after one was sick causing customers to leave.
Turned away: Miss Henshall and guide dog Usef were turned away from the White Coffee House in case they deterred other customers
She said: 'My dog was on a harness and under control and he would have sat happily at my feet.
'I did not stay - I just walked out because I was so angry - I am not a second-class citizen.
'Having a guide dog opens up my life and gives me confidence but this has been a big knock.'
Miss Henshall, who lives in the town, said Usef was wearing a high-visibility harness and a sign stating clearly he was a guide dog.But White Coffee House owner Mr Cox said the cafe doesn't allow any dogs on the premises.
she said other cafes and restaurants in the area welcomed her with open arms.
He said: 'We had a problem a year ago when a dog sicked up in the cafe and it cleared the place.
'We were told we don't have to allow dogs on the premises.
'I have spoken to the Guide Dogs Association about the issue and they understood as well.
'I sympathise with anyone with not very good vision but we are a very small place and that is our policy.'
Unwelcome: Miss Henshall was asked to leave the White Coffee House in the seaside town of Dovercourt, Essex when staff spotted her guide dog
Mr Cox said he had offered a place on an outside table, but Miss Henshall had refused it.
David Cowdrey, the Guide Dogs Association's head of campaigns, said the cafe was wrong to turn a blind woman away.
He said: 'Guide dog owners such as Miss Henshall rely on their dogs for mobility and independence.
'This is recognised in the Equality Act 2010 which requires restaurants and other service providers not to discriminate against disabled people.
'Staff at restaurants and food shops often cite hygiene issues but the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers has confirmed that guide and other assistance dogs should have access to these premises and there is no conflict with hygiene laws.
'Guide Dogs is happy to visit the White Coffee House to offer training and advice on the law and just how important a job guide dogs do for their owners.'
Originally Posted by dailymail.co.uk