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A Caffe Nero coffee shop has placed itself in the centre of a PR nightmare after refusing to give water to a blind man's guide dog.
In a move that seems pretty harsh, and somewhat unhelpful to all parties concerned, 40-year-old Oliver Gibbons' dog Sydney was denied a drink at the coffee shop in Exmouth, Devon.
Sydney had been hard at work guiding Gibbons around the seaside town, but when they stopped for a drink, he was told to jog on.
The coffee chain is now investigating the situation, according to Devon Live. The chain have said that - unsurprisingly - it is not the company's policy to refuse to provide a bowl of water to a blind man's guide dog.
Oliver's friend Helen Fox, who assists him in his everyday life and helps him to live independently, said to the Exmouth Journal: "I said, 'he's a guide dog', but they just said 'no' and walked off.
"It was really hot, he had been working and we had just taken him off the harness for a free run.
"I was taken aback - any dog should be allowed a drink, but he is also a working dog.
"Ollie doesn't want to go back again. It made him quite sad, really. He was asking why they were being like that."
A spokesperson for Caffe Nero said: "We are aware of this incident, and are in the process of investigating exactly what happened.
"We absolutely comply with the legalisation on access for guide dogs in all stores.
"It is not our policy to refuse water to guide dogs; we are not able to have our own water bowls for dogs in store for health and safety reasons."
However, the whole thing has not gone down well with the public. A spokesperson for Guide Dogs South West, Clive Wood, said: "It's very disappointing that the staff in this Caffe Nero made a decision to deny providing water to this gentleman's guide dog on such a warm day.
"It's disappointing that the level of customer service fell lower than expected from a national chain."
Another spokesperson from the RSPCA said: "It's extremely concerning to hear that a coffee shop refused to provide drinking water for a service dog whose handler was a customer.
They continued: "We would expect all businesses to show kindness and compassion towards all animals, but particularly to service dogs.
"Service dogs are always by their handler's side and provide a valuable, life-changing service, so we would hope that businesses would cater to their needs, as well as that of their owners."
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