Nov 24 2014
Andrew Goddard, who was left in the pouring rain with his dog Sammy, says he hopes the prosecutions will ensure that “other people will not have to suffer.”
UK Telegraph (h/t Colin W) A blind man who was left standing in the pouring rain when two cab drivers refused to transport his guide dog has welcomed the decision to prosecute the pair so that “other people will not have to suffer.” Andrew Goddard, who is registered blind, booked a cab to take him and guide dog Sammy to a social event in Bristol in December 2013.
He waited outside his home in Brislington, Bristol, in pouring rain with Sammy for the private hire driver to arrive. But when Khader Ahmed Sharif Abdi pulled up, he refused to allow the guide dog into his vehicle. Mr Goddard was forced to call for another driver but, when Sheikh Omar Mohamed arrived, he also refused to let the pair in his car. A third driver eventually agreed to take Mr Goddard and Sammy, both now soaking wet, to the event at the Louisiana pub.
Both Abdi and Mohamed were prosecuted by Bristol City Council for refusing to convey an assistance dog, contrary to the Equalities Act 2010. Abdi admitted the offence at Bristol Magistrates’ Court and was handed a conditional discharge and ordered to pay a contribution to prosecution costs. Mohamed was found guilty of the offence at the same court and fined almost £350.
Speaking after the case, Mr Goddard said he hoped it would prevent others from going through the same ordeal. “I got Sammy in May last year, and he has given me the confidence to go out to social events on my own,” he said.
“I don’t have any problem with my normal taxi firm, who are always happy to take my dog, and if it hadn’t have been raining, I would have probably got the bus. “I am pleased that both drivers were prosecuted, and I hope that by highlighting this issue other people will not have to suffer.”
The prosecutions were brought by the council’s Licensing Enforcement Team. Gus Hoyt, assistant mayor for neighbourhoods at the council, called the actions of Abdi and Mohamed “simply not acceptable”.
“Taxis and private hire vehicles form an integral part of the transport system in Bristol and are often relied upon by people suffering from visual impairment,” Mr Hoyt said.
“It is simply not acceptable that drivers don’t comply with their legal obligations by refusing to carry assistance dogs. We are delighted that we have brought these successful convictions, and we hope it sends out a strong message that this is simply not acceptable.”