Guide dog dispute for Boughton holiday home owners

Lynn News Web Site Fillers

Lynn News Web Site Fillers

A Surrey couple were left angry after they were told they were not allowed to bring their guide dog on holiday with them in Boughton.

David Halliwell, 42, and Victoria Kunzli, 46, were looking forward to their holiday at Bells Meadow Shepherds Hut over the bank holiday until they were told the farmhouse would not welcome David’s guide dog.

Karon Bennett, who runs the farmhouse, responded to the couple’s email request by saying her two rescue dogs were not dog-friendly and she would not feel comfortable with them bringing the guide dog.

Mr Halliwell, who lives in Richmond, said: “It was clearly not acceptable, the legislation is very clear that guide dogs are legally able to accompany us into any establishment used by the public, but they became very defensive about it.

“I’ve been everywhere with the dog and never had any problems.

“This is the kind of holiday which is ideal for a guide dog and I would expect better from someone who runs a farm and understands animals like that.”

Miss Kunzli said: “I feel that, if you have dogs which you clearly cannot trust, then the general public should be made aware of this at the time of booking, and that they really should consider allowing the public on to their property at all.”

Bells Meadow, which is found in Stoke Road, is available to book through www.booking.com and offers separate accomodation from the main building on a larger farm site.

However, in replies to Miss Kunzli, Ms Bennett rejected the suggestion they were acting illegally.

She said: “It is a disappointment that a dog-friendly person can be so negative about our rescue dogs, who we trust with all friends, family and guests. One of our dogs is a therapy dog for an elderly gentleman in our village where she goes to have cuddles to brighten his day.

“I feel in no way that we are breaching equalities or human rights.

“If they were to bring any dog it would be at their own risk.”

She went on to say:“This is private property and we invite guests to share our home and land with our human friendly dogs, cats horses, free range chickens, geese and ducks.

“We have numerous positive reviews from other sites and all guests have interacted with our dogs. We have never received any negative comments.”

She added: “Booking.com was a new site for us to try. However, after this, we are now considering removing ourselves from this site.”

Mr Halliwell, who is totally blind and has used this guide dog for three years, works as a journalist and travels a lot for work but has never found any issue taking his dog along.

He said: “I feel people need to know what has happened. I’m fairly confident about having a dog and dealing with problems like these but for someone who is new to it, this could really upset them.”

Ms Kunzli said the couple had been left very disappointed. She said: “We have now rebooked our holiday for Dorset.”