Taxi ban on Henry lands cabbies in the doghouse

TAXI drivers could be breaking the law by refusing to take passengers with dogs, a councillor claims.

Mirfield town councillor James Taylor found many firms across North Kirklees will not carry animals after launching his own investigation.

He did a ring-round posing as a passenger with a pet after being shocked by an experience in Huddersfield last Sunday.

Coun Taylor, 33, was left stranded by seven taxi firms when his Ford Fiesta broke down as he took his mother to work. They all refused to carry Coun Taylor’s pet Henry, a four-year-old Shih Tzu rescue dog.

Colleagues of his mum, Kirklees councillor Kath Taylor, helped get the stricken Fiesta to their premises.

Meanwhile, a taxi firm, the eighth he had called, finally agreed to take him and Henry back to Mirfield. The journey cost £17.

It prompted the ring-round, with taxi companies in Dewsbury and Batley being among those who refused take dogs.

Two firms in Mirfield had no problem with pets. Coun Taylor has reported his findings to Kirklees Council’s licensing department.

They could be in breach of the Local Government Act 1976, which states cabbies should not refuse to take dogs without a reasonable excuse.

Coun Taylor said: “Many taxi firms are technically in breach of the law. I wasn’t even asked if Henry is a guide dog.

“Many people don’t have a car. What would they do if their dog needed urgent veterinary treatment and there weren’t any buses?”

Akooji Badat, of the Kirklees Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Association, said drivers will take guide dogs but pets are optional.

A taxi office manager, who did not want to be named, said: “What happened a lot is someone would ring up and say they have a small dog.

“But it would turn out to be big Alsatian, or the dog is moulting and leaves hair everywhere, which isn’t nice for the next passenger.

“It's a lot easier to refuse all dogs except guide dogs. The taxi has to be cleaned before the next passenger gets in, which also isn’t fair on the driver.”

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