Man sues Sainsbury's after banning his assistance cat

Man sues Sainsbury's after banning his assistance cat
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A man is reportedly taking Sainsbury’s to court after a branch of the supermarket allegedly refused to allow his cat inside the store.

Ian Fenn and his assistance act Chloe could make legal history with the legal action taken against the company.

Fenn has autism and says he has trained Chloe to be a support animal for him. He claims the cat prevents sensory overloads and believes she should be treated as a guide dog would be.

The legal action comes after an incident in March when Fenn attempted to take Chloe into a branch of Sainsbury's in Clapham, south London.

He was told by staff and security that he would have to leave the animal outside. After making a complaint, Fenn was told that Sainsbury's only permits assistance dogs inside stores.

Chris Fry is a lawyer who specialises in disability discrimination and is bringing the case for Fenn under the Equality Act.

Fry said: “There are plenty of cases about guide dogs being refused access to places or services but there hasn’t really been any judicial exploration of what constitutes an assistance animal if it’s not a dog.”

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Fenn has been previously allowed to bring Chloe into hotels, shops and to hospital and blood donation appointments.

Tweeting from Chloe’s Twitter handle, Fenn wrote: “Chloe accompanies me to hospital, GP, and blood donation appointments.

“We’ve been to zoos and aquariums where biosecurity needs to be considered. We’ve been to other supermarkets.”

She typically wears a yellow “service cat” jacket and is on a lead or often sitting on Fenn’s shoulder.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told The Guardian: “We want to be an inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop and understand that some of our colleagues and customers may need support in our stores.

“At the same time, safety is our highest priority and our colleagues are trained to balance maintaining our high food hygiene standards with supporting all our customers who shop with us.”

“We are in contact with the local environmental health team to see if there are ways we can help Mr Fenn to visit our store without compromising this.”

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