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Published on October 2, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Give a dog a bad name

Despite 2018 being the Chinese Year of the Dog, the JD Wetherspoon pub chain has banned them from its near 1,000 venues. The pub giant said reasons behind their exclusion were concerns for the safety of children and hygiene issues. Animals, they say, can be “unpredictable” and that some customers, including children, may not like dogs.

Under the ban, the pets will also not be allowed in outside areas around the premises, such as smoking areas and beer gardens. 

In reality, the company has had a no-dogs policy since shortly after it was founded almost 40 years ago but has allowed “a few exceptions” in recent years. Before the ban was rolled out last month, announcements in pubs said the only pets to be exempt from the rule will be assistance dogs, which will be allowed both inside and outside. 

Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon said that “even well-behaved dogs can be unpredictable” and “we serve a lot of food and unfortunately not all owners are diligent over cleaning up dog mess”. 

He added that the family chain is mindful that “younger children in particular can be unpredictable around dogs and many are scared of dogs”. In recent months, Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin and staunch EU-Leave campaigner has dropped Champagne in favour of British sparkling wine in its pubs and has closed all its social media accounts, allegedly because of the amount of adverse comments levelled at the company.

But not all is doggy n-go at Wetherspoons; a number of its bars offer BrewDog beers Punk IPA and Elvis Juice, while the Red Lion in Bedlington, Northumberland, is heavy on Bedlington Terrier connotation. Framed photos of the handsome canine line the walls of this large corner-site pub while a bench outside plays homage and a wire sculpture by artist and former Jaws impersonator Gary Tiplady is a real conversation point.

The Bedlington Terrier is often described as looking like “a lamb on a leash”. The progenitor of the breed is said to be Old Flint, owned by Squire Trevelyan in the late 18th Century. It was originally known as the Rothbury or Rodbery Terrier and is now one of the most popular show dogs in America.

February 5 2019 marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Pig, so Wetherspoons could perhaps do us all a favour by banning the ubiquitous serving of pulled pork.


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Alastair Gilmour



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