North West Wales

Conwy pub discriminated against disabled dog owners

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Media captionBurnadette Clutton said assistance dogs were "our independence"

The owner of a pub chain indirectly discriminated against two disabled people who were told they could not sit in a carvery restaurant with their assistance dogs, a court has found.

The Pen-y-Bryn group, which owns the Village Inn, Llanfairfechan, Conwy county, was ordered to pay £2,000 damages at Caernarfon County Court.

But Judge Merfyn Jones-Evans ruled that it did not deliberately discriminate.

The restaurant said it was trying to balance hygiene with equality.

Burnadette Clutton, from Llanfairfechan, and Ed Williams, from the Midlands, had booked a table at the pub for Sunday lunch.

The court heard they were offered a table in the bar where their dogs would have to stay while they got their food.

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Image caption The Pen-y-Bryn group, which owns the Village Inn, Llanfairfechan, must pay £2,000 damages

The restaurant denied discrimination and said that dogs were not allowed in the carvery restaurant on health and hygiene grounds.

Ms Clutton said the dogs were not pets but highly-trained working dogs that performed important tasks for their owners, including fetching and carrying and monitoring the breathing of people with respiratory problems.

"I want to be as independent as I can," she said. "I just want to live independently and do what any able-bodied person can do."

Martin Mensah, who represented the pub, had told the court the test was whether the defendant acted reasonably and whether the plaintiffs had been substantially disadvantaged.

"They were offered a table. They were offered someone to hold their dogs and they were offered someone to go to the carvery with them to help," he said.

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