Birmingham & Black Country

Partially-blind teen says guide dog barred from Birmingham O2 gig

Kali Holder and Lucy Spraggan Image copyright Kali Holder
Image caption Fan Kali Holder (right) had previously met Lucy Spraggan in March 2017

A partially-sighted teenager says she was told she could only watch a music gig if she left her guide dog in an office.

Kali Holder, 18, had been at the O2 Institute in Birmingham for a concert by former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan. She says she was made to leave her dog, before being made to sign a disclaimer to sit with him.

Spraggan tweeted she was "disgusted" by the incident on Tuesday.

The venue has begun an investigation.

Miss Holder said despite being allowed to take her guide dog Blake to a question-and-answer session, security told her she had to leave her dog in the office to see the gig.

"They pointed me in a general direction where to go, but I can't see in the dark well," she said. "It was really quite frightening."

She says she was only allowed to be with her dog after she said she felt unsafe, and was then made to sign a disclaimer by a manager removing the venue of any responsibility if an incident happened.

The student said she decided to leave before the gig started due to the upset caused.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Miss Holder had travelled to the O2 Institute in Digbeth, but left disappointed

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said under the Equality Act as a general rule, if members of the public are allowed access to a place or a service, then so is an assistance dog owner with their dog.

The venue's website says assistance dogs are welcome.

Miss Holder: "They need to give their staff training to make people aware. Although it was horrible, I'd rather they learn from it."

Spraggan tweeted about the incident after her wife witnessed it.

An O2 Institute Birmingham spokeswoman said Miss Holder had accepted an apology and a refund of her ticket plus travel costs.

She added that an internal investigation was being conducted and all staff were being given training.

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