Disabled couple ‘furious’ as theme park ‘tells them to leave due to guide dog’

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A disabled couple have said they felt "discriminated against" when they were allegedly asked to leave a theme park because of their guide dog.

Paul and Kaylie Newbury, Grays, claim that they were told they needed to leave the Adventure Island theme park because Kaylie's guide dog wasn't wearing a muzzle.

The angry couple have said this is discrimination against disabled people and that they plan on "holding Adventure Island to account".

However, when approached about the incident, Adventure Island's owner said he "hadn't got a clue" what Paul ad Kaylie were talking about, Essex Live reported.

Paul, a 36-year-old deaf man, said he went to Adventure Island for a nice day out with his blind wife Kaylie, her guide dog Sarah, two children and family friends.

But trouble allegedly arose as soon as they got to the park, when security guards stopped the family at the main entrance.

Paul said the security guards were not sure if Kaylie's guide dog, Sarah, was allowed into the park.

After eventually being let in, Paul said his experience only got worse later on, as security were "eye-balling" the family as they walked round the park.

He said: "They were all talking on their radios and twice we were approached by security and asked: 'Is that actually a guide dog? Why do you need it?'

"I became furious. I went over to customer services and asked them: 'Please can you tell your security to back off, because we’re here for the children and the security keep coming over and questioning us.'

"We felt targeted and discriminated against."

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The customer services staff member then checked the Southend-on-Sea theme park's accessibility policy and "became concerned", according to Paul.

The fuming man was reportedly told that all dogs in the park need to wear a muzzle, but Sarah, a white Labrador, has never worn a muzzle before, which Paul says is common for guide dogs.

Paul and his family were then allegedly asked to leave Adventure Island, something he said made him "furious".

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"I was shocked", Paul said.

"This was about half past 3 and we’d gone in at 11, so there had been a long time when it was fine.

"I stood my ground and I refused."

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The family were allowed to remain in the park for the rest of the day, but Paul said he would not be letting the traumatic experience go.

In its accessibility policy, Adventure Island says: "Adventure Island is committed to promoting an atmosphere of fun within a safe disability assisted environment."

Its policy clarifies that only registered medical assistance dogs are allowed in Adventure Island and proof is required.

Dogs are also required to wear a harness and coat, as well as a muzzle.

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When approached for a comment on Paul and Kaylie's experience at the park, Adventure Island's boss Philip Milller, MBE, said: "I haven't a clue to what he is talking about we had a guide dog in [on Sunday, August 15] with a family who stayed for hours enjoying our facilities.

"We are strict on not letting dogs in due to the worry of flashing lights and lots of noise with young children’s excitement sending them out of control.

"We have been used for a TV advert showing the safe use of well-trained medical dogs.

"However on occasion we have had folks trying to pass off family pets as such.

"You cannot be too careful when it comes to the safety of our younger customers.

"Unfortunately sometimes we get it wrong. Maybe this is what happened."

  • Dogs
  • Money
  • Family

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