Disgruntled dog owners fall foul of Wetherspoon's dog ban

The George Hotel in Whittlesey

Outside seating area at the front of The George Hotel in Whittlesey. - Credit: Michael Robinett

Heatwave Britain prompted a row in Whittlesey after dog owners fell foul of Wetherspoon’s ban on dogs – both inside and outside of their pub.

The pub chain owns The George in Market Square and has extended their dining area with an al fresco assortment of chairs and tables out front.

But the ban on dogs remains – and some residents are furious.

Market Square seating at The George in Whittlesey

Market Square seating at The George in Whittlesey. - Credit: Michael Robinett

“I was having breakfast with my daughter and dog: we sat outside,” one disgruntled customer told a community Facebook page.

“The dog lay under the table causing no harm but the manager came out with our breakfast and she told us to eat quickly; we never got our coffees we paid for either.”

Another wrote that “three people had been served their beers when the waitress saw they had a dog with them lying down quietly beneath the table.

The George Hotel, Whittlesey

Dogs are banned at all JD Wetherspoon pubs - but some have queried if that rule can remain on the Market Square tables. - Credit: Michael Robinett

“They had to leave their drinks and go. I felt so sorry for them.

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“I could understand it if they had gone inside but it seemed a bit extreme when they were sat inside the Market Place."

Another said: “There was nothing wrong with us being there, we just had to go because we had our dog with us.

“You just lost custom because of your stupid rules.”

The George Hotel, like all JD Wetherspoon pubs, does not allow dogs anywhere on its premises.

Like many pubs, restaurants and cafes, it has recently been granted a pavement licence to extend its outdoor dining area further into the market square.

But doubt has emerged whether their arrangement with Fenland Council permits them to ask customers to leave if they were sitting out front with their pets.

As the pavement licence extends into a public space, customers sitting within its boundary may be within their rights to stay if they had a dog with them.

Outside dining area at The George Hotel in Whittlesey

JD Wetherspoon owns The George in Market Square and has extended the dining area out front. - Credit: Michael Robinett

Eddie Gershon, a Wetherspoon spokesperson, explained dogs are not allowed in its pubs.

“The tables and chairs in the market square are part of The George pub and as such the ruling applies there too,” he said.

A Fenland District Council spokesperson said their licensing manager will call the pub to find out where exactly the customers were sitting.

If they were within the pub’s premises boundary, then the chain’s ‘no dog policy’ would apply.

But if they were sat within the area of the pavement licence on the Market Square, then the customer may have been within their rights to have stayed at the pub with their dog.

At The George, the outside drinking area has been roped off to include a section of the Market Square.

Chris Newman, owner and chef at the nearby Homme Nouveau restaurant, believes he has the perfect solution – drop in on him.

He said the restaurant is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am “and we welcome dogs in our courtyard, have water and bowls for them and treats”.

He also feels it important to “support local independent eateries."

Mr Newman added: “All dogs are welcome to sit with you as you enjoy lunch or even just a coffee.”

While some felt everyone should stick to JD Wetherspoon’s ban on dogs in pubs, others argued the Market Square is a public space and they should be permitted.