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This article was published 21/5/2010 (4168 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg woman can't believe a McDonald's manager would be blind to the law allowing guide dogs in places open to the public.
Renee Brady, who has relied on her six-year-old golden retriever to be her eyes for the last five years, said she was taken aback when the manager of the restaurant at Main Street and Mountain Avenue told her on Wednesday she had to eat her food outside because of the dog.
Brady, who was with a co-worker at the time, said at first she thought the male manager didn't realize her dog, Able, was a guide animal. But she quickly realized that wasn't the case.
"I said he was a guide dog and he said 'I know it's a guide dog, but you'll have to leave,' " she said in an interview Friday.
"He said I couldn't stay because there was food served there."
Brady said it's the first time she has ever been told to get out of a restaurant or public place with her guide dog.
Officials from McDonald's Canada said on Friday they have apologized to Brady.
"Our procedures for assisting customers with special needs were not followed and we have addressed the situation directly with the restaurant staff to ensure this does not happen again," McDonald's said in a statement.
But while Brady confirmed McDonald's had phoned to apologize to her, she also wants them to do something else.
"I'm not looking for an apology -- I want more. I want positive action. I want training of management and staff so this doesn't happen again."
As well, in a letter Brady wrote to McDonald's, she asked the restaurant chain to put stickers on their doors letting people know while pets are not allowed to enter, service dogs are welcome.
A spokeswoman for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission said it is discrimination under the province's human rights code to not allow the woman to stay inside the restaurant with her guide dog.
She said guide dogs are allowed to go wherever members of the public are allowed.
Susan Dewalt, the CNIB's associate director of services and operations, said while the incident was surprising, it's not the first time.
"Everybody with a guide dog has experienced questions why a guide dog is allowed inside a restaurant," Dewalt said.
"Some restaurants don't know that service dogs can go anywhere the public can go -- they can't go into the food-preparation area because members of the public can't go there, either."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.