December 19, 2005.
I C Huddersfield (UK).
A BLIND man was left stranded because a taxi driver refused to drive him with his guide dog.
Now the taxi firm, Tandem Taxis, of Waterloo, could face a £1,000 fine.
Mr Jonathan O'Connor, of Southfield Road, Almondbury, called the taxi after completing an £80 shop at Morrisons supermarket with his nine-year-old son, Jacob.
"It was almost seven o'clock and freezing cold," he said.
"It wasn't a long journey home but there was no way I could walk with all the shopping and the dog and Jacob.
"But when the taxi driver arrived he said he wouldn't take us because of my guide dog.
"He said she would dirty the seat and he would have to clean the car for the next passenger.
"I explained that she sat in the footwell but he drove off.
"I rang the base and asked for an apology and another car but he said they don't take dogs and shouted some abuse and put the phone down."
An angry Mr O'Connor, who is partially sighted, contacted the Disability Rights Commission who told him it was a criminal act to refuse to take a guide dog.
He has now written to the firm by recorded delivery asking for an explanation.
Mr Doug Holliday, licensing manager at Kirklees Council, confirmed that it was against the law to refuse to carry `assistance dogs' and that offenders found guilty could be liable to a fine of up to £1,000.
"For the past eight years we have run in-house training for all taxi drivers, Hackney and private hire, which show them how to deal with guide dogs, among other things.
"I feel very strongly about this issue and now it has been brought to my attention I will investigate the complaint," he said.
No-one from Tandem Taxis would comment.
Source URL: http://ichuddersfield.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100localnews/tm_objectid=16502748&method=full&siteid=50060&headline=blind-man-and-guide-dog-left-to-walk-by-cab-firm-name_page.html.
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