COSTA'S decision to start banning dogs from its Great Malvern coffee shop has proved unpopular, but staff at the Church Street branch are only following orders from head office – and with such strict health and safety and food hygiene laws to obey these days, you can understand why the pets have been barred.

Although most people's dogs are well behaved and sit quietly beneath the table, all it would take is for one pet to bite a child or get in the way of an elderly person and cause them to fall over and hurt themself, and there would be uproar – and Costa could face legal action.

Also, there is of course the issue of hygiene in a food and drink business and, as much as we love our dogs, they are not the cleanest of creatures.

I regularly go into Costa branches across Worcestershire and see dogs in there with their owners, so clearly many of the coffee shops are choosing not to enforce the company's policy of banning the pets.

That's why many people have been irritated by the Great Malvern branch's sudden enforcement of the ban – they're asking 'if I can take my dog to one Costa, why can't I take him/her to all of them?'

There needs to be consistency across all Costa branches to stop customers feeling that they and their dogs are being treated unfairly.

We must remember that the staff at Great Malvern Costa have not made this decision, and they are very community-minded as evidenced by their efforts to collect and distribute clothes for homeless people.