Pub bosses make apology after disability dog mix up

Apology: Rachel Parkes with her service dog Lola and carer Sarah Mackay
Apology: Rachel Parkes with her service dog Lola and carer Sarah Mackay
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Pub bosses have apologised after a disabled woman was told she couldn’t eat in their restaurant because she had a service dog.

Rachel Parkes suffers from Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), meaning her ligaments and soft tissue are turning to bone and she needs constant care and uses a wheel chair.

The 23-year-old went to the Royal Oak in Hoghton for a meal with carers and her service dog, Lola, but she says she was asked to sit in a different area of the pub because of the dog. She claimed the table offered was unsuitable for her wheelchair, and she left the pub.

But the owners say they hadn’t been told by staff that Lola was a service dog, and apologised for a “breakdown in communication”.

Rachel, who lives in Bamber Bridge, said: “It was pretty humiliating.

“When we got there, a waitress came up to us and said we did reserve you a table but we didn’t realise you had a dog.

“They put us on a little table that I couldn’t get my legs underneath.”

Rachel said she told staff Lola was a service dog, but pub bosses said the message wasn’t passed on to management.

Owner Chris Rawlinson said: “I think it was a breakdown in communication with some of the younger members of staff. On this occasion, it’s not got back to management to say it’s a service dog.

“We have a number of disabled people who come into the restaurant; it’s not uncommon to see a dog in the main dining room or the other room, we don’t discriminate against anyone.”

He apologised to Rachel and her family, and said: “If we had known she was a service dog, it wouldn’t have been a problem at all.”