A woman and her partner claim they were kicked out of an Aldi supermarket for taking their service dogs inside the store.
Amanda Schofield and Lee Allen both have registered service dogs to help combat PTSD. Lee, 48, served in the military for 12 years and saw active service in Iraq.
Amanda claims Lee was asked to leave the store in Runcorn after taking dog, Honey, into Aldi on November 16. The 44-year-old went in later that day to speak to staff but claims she was also asked to leave because she had her dog with her. The couple have now been banned from Aldi indefinitely.
Amanda told the ECHO: "Lee had been in earlier in the day and was followed by a manager. He got upset because she would not leave him alone.
“He had tears in his eyes when I saw him at home. I thought I would go over and speak to them because I have a service dog, so went in to explain why they are allowed in the store.”
Amanda then claims she was told: “Dogs are not allowed in the store”. After a confrontation with the manager, she claims she was made to leave by staff who began to shout at her to “get out”.
A spokesperson for Aldi said it does not “tolerate aggressive behaviour” towards staff and said service dogs are allowed in the store.
Amanda from Runcorn said: “It has made Lee feel resentful as he fought for this country… He does not like going to shops as it is and it has made him weary of going into a store. I would like to be able to go everywhere with my dog… I feel like I am thinking about what happened all the time.
“You have to remember that when someone has therapy they most likely have mental health issues. It could aggravate them and that is unfair.”
Amanda said she now wants to campaign to educate retail workers on the issues that service dog owners face on a day-to-day basis.
Aldi told the ECHO that the first customer was asked to keep his service dog on a tighter lead as it was touching food in the chillers and that both Lee and Amanda were agressive with staff.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “We do not tolerate aggressive behaviour towards our store colleagues. The safety and wellbeing of both our colleagues and customers is our priority, which is why these customers were asked to leave our store. We welcome service dogs and guide dogs in all our stores.”