Colindale restaurant refuses to let deaf man bring his hearing dog
PUBLISHED: 10:31 15 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:16 15 September 2015
A deaf man is demanding an apology from a restaurant in Colindale after staff refused to let his hearing dog in.
Michael Forester, 59, his disabled daughter Naomi Jacobs and her partner were forced to dine elsewhere after Jakarta in Sheaveshill Avenue refused to let him in with his dedicated assistance dog.
Mr Forester, who had travelled 160 miles from his Somerset home, showed staff documents explaining their legal duty under the Equality Act to allow registered assistance dogs onto their premises but they refused to budge.
He said: “It made me feel about four inches tall when they told me Matt couldn’t join us in front of a restaurant full of people.
“It’s very, very unpleasant and humiliating. It makes you feel like you are being treated as less than everyone else just because you are disabled.”
Mr Forester, an author and former businessman was diagnosed with the most severe form of profound deafness shortly after his 30th birthday.
He relies on Matt to cross roads and get around safely, his pet shows evidence of disability where it is invisible.
Mr Forester has since written to restaurant owner demanding an apology and informing them he would take further action if he does not hear from them within 28 days.
His daughter, who is reliant on a scooter and a walking stick, added: “My dad’s dog is so well trained; wherever he goes he just sits under the table, you’d never know he was there.”
Peter Siswoo, manager at Jakarta told the Times: “There doesn’t seem to be a reason for this apart from that he just wants to push his rights. He could have left his dog outside so I think he’s being a little bit unreasonable.
“The man had his daughter and her partner there, what could the dog do to help him that they couldn’t?
“There’s no real genuine reason for him to bring the dog into the restaurant and that’s what upset everyone at the time.”
A spokeswoman for charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People said: “Under the Equalities Act 2010 a hearing dog should be given access to all public areas. This includes supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and on public transport.”