After being “thrown out” of a shop in Stroud for bringing in his guide dog, a Nailsworth man has had enough of poor enforcement of his rights.

Michael Kelly, who went blind in the 1980s from a still undiagnosed condition, is urging shops, cafes and restaurants to remember that it is against the law to stop him being joined by Danny, his Labradoodle guide dog.

Michael's plea comes after a festive break in which he and Danny faced resistance three times in a week and a summer where he was ejected by an owner.

“Most shop owners are aware of their obligations and I generally have no problems taking Danny around with me,” said Michael.

Michael with his guide dog, Danny

“However, I was amazed that, in the single week between Christmas and New Year, I had problems with getting Danny accepted into three different local premises, where staff were initially reluctant to let us in.

“Last summer, I also tried to take Danny into a shop in Stroud, but the owner threw me out and was very aggressive and rude.

“I find that such behaviour is very upsetting, insulting, demeaning, and it’s also illegal.”

Michael points to the Equality Act 2010, which enshrined in law protection against discrimination, including on the basis of disability.

“Legally, it’s no different to if I was thrown out for being black or a Muslim,” he said.

Despite the law, Michael thinks not enough is done to make others aware of his rights and fears he has no viable recourse.

“Unfortunately, while the law is clear, it’s not enforced by any authority – if I want to challenge a shop owner for denying me access, it would be up to me to take them to court.

“In practice, I wouldn’t do this, of course, as I don’t want a fuss and wouldn’t know how to do it.”

What would be better, says Michael, is an idea backed by Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk: amending the law so that councils can revoke licences of places that bar guide dogs.

He added: "I’ve also contacted Stroud MP David Drew to ask for his support in this venture, which he’s given."