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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Who Let The Dogs In?

Hackney Groveller has stirred up a furore this weekend with its headline article "Guide Dog Ordeal" about Desi Veeran, a 47-year-old visually impaired glass sculptor from Homerton who's been having a spot of bother recently.

Riff-raff not welcome hereAccording to the Groveller, Desi was forced to pay a visit to Downing Street to complain to government minister Phil Hope about being barred from Hackney restaurants, taxis and buses because she is accompanied by her guide dog, Zsa Zsa.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, amended 2005, it is illegal for hoteliers and restaurant owners to refuse to serve a disabled person for reasons relating to their disability and since 2001 taxi drivers have been obliged to carry, free of charge, dogs travelling with disabled owners. It is, apparently, not uncommon for restaurant staff and transport personnel to be unfamiliar with these laws and to discriminate against the blind and visually impaired, as Ms. Veeran has personally experienced.

But what really pissed this local artist off was being ejected from Town Hall Square's Technology and Learning Centre (TLC) - known affectionately to local wags as "Tender Loving Care" and to the rest of Hackney's population as "The Library" - when she tried to use its services in the company of Zsa Zsa. Speaking to The Groveller, she said: "I was asked to leave by the security guards because of the dog. It wasn't the first time it had happened either."

Having read the story this morning, I would like to issue an unreserved apology on behalf of Hackney Council. Our policy is to welcome support animals for the disabled and we regret any distress caused to Ms. Veeran. We do, however, frequently experience problems with trouble-makers on these premises - in particular local geriatrics, trades unionists and children attempting to protest at meetings organised or sponsored by the Council, many of whom have had to be forcibly evicted from the building over the past few years. It was for that reason that Mayor Pipeshaft in his capacity as non-Executive Director of The Learning Trust issued an edict to security staff some time ago that they "should not let the dogs in". This was, of course a reference to the rabble from Morning Lane and Hackney Wick and was never intended to refer to decent, respectable attendees such as Zsa Zsa. We apologise for the mistake and will do everything possible to ensure that while dogs are excluded in future, canines are welcomed onto the premises.


boris said...

Where is Jessica Crowe these days?

Anonymous said...

She is lucky she can't see the eyesore called the TLC

Anonymous said...

Boris..I believe that Jessica is in Jules Pipesqueaks bed. Don't know what she is doing there,as I always thought that Jules was a bit of a fruit.

Christine Boyd