Caffe Nero Refuses To Give Water To A Blind Man's Guide Dog
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.
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"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."
Featured Image Credit: PA