A service dog (Photo: PersianDutchNetwork/Wikimedia Commons) - Credit: A service dog (Photo: PersianDutchNetwork/Wikimedia Commons)
Thursday, December 24, 2015 - 15:35
Service dog refused entry during family outing to Gouda restaurant
World restaurant Atlantis in Gouda refused access to 29 year old Gwen Vermeij and her service dog Sakje when she tried to make a reservation for dinner with her parents. The restaurant would not allow the service dogs because he might transfer fleas onto the carpet, Dutch newspaper AD reports. Vermeij has a congenital disability and is therefore dependent on a wheelchair and service dog. Sakje helps her by, among other things, opening doors and picking up fallen objects. "Sakje is my dearest friends and we are inseparable. Thanks to him I do not feel dependent on other people and therefore he is always with me", Vermeij said to the newspaper. "When booking, I was very kindly attended to, until I stated that I would bring a service dog along. Then I was told this was not possible." The reason the restaurant gave is that there are carpets in the restaurant and that the dog might bring fleas in. Vermeij reassured them that Sakje is periodically checked for fleas and definitely does not have any, but they were still not allowed to go. "I was so angry and so disappointed, for my parents too, that I called in the foundation Gebruikers Assistentie Honded", Vermeij said. The foundation, called Users Assist Dogs in English, was established last year to give people with service dogs a platform to talk on and to lodge complaints about accessibility. The foundation posted the complaint on Facebook and was flooded with outraged responses. Atlantis responded to the foundation as follows: "We have carpet in our restaurant. If fleas are found we must close for a week to remove it. That's a risk we can not take." The foundation finds this insufficient and wants to talk to the municipality about the matter, AD reports.