Coventry Student is Denied Access to a Restaurant – Because of her Service Dog

Photograph description: Holly Scott-Gardner sits on the grass in a park. Her golden retriever service dog, Isla, laying happily on the grass in front of her.

Earlier this week, Coventry student Holly Scott-Gardner was out to celebrate her 22nd birthday. A Spanish student at Coventry University, Holly told the BBC that she is usually welcomed around Coventry with her service dog Isla without any problems.

But when Holly went to PGR, she was asked to sit outside or tie her dog up outside. She said that due to the weather, it wasn’t really suitable to sit outside. The owner of PGR didn’t back down when she highlighted that his actions were illegal and that she felt obliged to report him.

The incident was caught on video by Holly, and has been shared on her Facebook profile. It has been viewed almost 300 thousand times in just 48 hours.

Talking to the BBC, Holly said:

“You don’t expect to go out for people to treat you like you have no right to exist in public spaces.”

We at Muscle Owl believe that everyone has the right to be integrated into society. Service dogs play a huge role in the lives of those who need them, by keeping them safe, calming their anxiety and helping them with daily tasks others may take for granted. Much like a wheelchair or other mobility aid, service dogs enable disabled people to be an active part of their community and lead fulfilling lives to their fullest potential.

The owner of PGR Coventry, Majed Bahgozen also spoke to the BBC. He said:

“When I saw the dog I was thinking about the health and safety of it, because the health and safety is important in the restaurant. I broke Holly’s heart… I want to make her happy.”

Mr Bahgozen has donated £1,000 of his own money to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and offered Holly and her friends a free meal at PGR which she has declined.

We want to wish Holly the best and hope she enjoyed her birthday week despite the upset. We also think that this shows that the education of everyone in society about laws, regulations and disability in general will mean that incidences of everyday ableism will become fewer.

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