"You're barred!"- Stoke pub brings in dog ban
A POTTERIES pub has introduced a ban on dogs – despite welcoming snakes, lizards and other exotic pets.
The White Star, in Stoke, says due to an increase in demand for its meals and snacks, dogs are not allowed in the pub during food service times.
The venue hosts meetings of the Staffordshire Exotics Society, whose 112 members regularly attend with their pets.
New manager Andrew Cash has stressed that the exotic animals are only welcome in the private function room, away from diners.
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But the ban has led to dog owner Andy Burgess, a member of the Campaign for Real Ale, choosing to boycott all pubs run by Titanic Brewery in protest.
The 47-year-old, who lives in Trent Vale and owns Presley the German Shepherd, said: "I've drunk at the White Star since 2007 and it has my favourite beer and I have a lot of friends there. It's a lovely pub. Presley doesn't do any harm. He's even had three years of obedience training.
"Sometimes I've even popped out to the shops and left him. You don't even know he's there."
Mr Burgess, who lives in Elphinstone Road and works in promotions for Port Vale FC, added: "Sadly, the new manager of the pub, while welcoming reptiles, skunks and other exotic animals, has seen fit to ban dogs from the premises.
"Personally, I would have no objection if a skunk was to jump onto my table when I was enjoying a pint, providing it kept itself to itself.
"I've taken this up with the brewery but it looks like they've made their minds up. So I'm afraid they have lost a loyal customer."
Dave Bott, managing director of Titanic Brewery, stressed that the Staffordshire Exotics Society meet in a separate function room for their monthly meetings, away from areas where food is served.
He said the dog ban has been welcomed by many customers, but conceded that some have disagreed with the rule.
"For some time now food sales in the White Star have been increasing," Mr Bott said.
"This has brought the problem of dogs being present in food service areas to the fore.
"We cannot identify an area to reserve for non food customers and have therefore reluctantly taken the decision not to allow dogs in the pub during food service hours only. While we understand this may upset some customers we have also found other customers who are now much more comfortable eating without dogs in the vicinity.
"This is the classic 'can't please all the people all the time' problem and we are sorry for those customers that have found the rule not to their liking.
"Our policies are under constant review and we will monitor the situation carefully.
"The Staffordshire Exotics Society meet at the White Star in our upstairs function room. This room is not open to the public during their meeting time and there are no customers eating meals in that area."
The pub serves food between 11.30am and 8.30pm.
Mr Cash said: "It's health and safety issues more than anything, and that's why it's been enforced. Since doing so, we've improved our takings on food."