Given that she describes herself as a human pet — and is happy to walk around on a lead — Tasha Maltby is used to odd looks and even odder remarks.
But nothing had prepared her for the reaction of the bus driver who allegedly told the self-styled Goth and her boyfriend: “We don’t let freaks and dogs like you on.”
Miss Maltby and her fiance Dani Graves were so angered they have complained to the bus company of being “victimised”.
“It is definitely discrimination, almost like a hate crime,” 19-year-old Miss Maltby said yesterday.
The music technology student had this defence of her lifestyle.
“I am a pet, I generally act animal like and I lead a really easy life,” she said.
“I don’t cook or clean and I don’t go anywhere without Dani. It might seem strange but it makes us both happy. It’s my culture and my choice. It isn’t hurting anyone.”
The bus driver, however, has obviously not been listening.
He has repeatedly refused to allow Mr Graves, 25, and his “pet” on to his bus in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
Last month, with Miss Maltby on a leash as usual, the couple tried to board a bus at the bus station.
The driver, who was off duty, was standing near the door.
Mr Graves alleged: “He shoved me off the bus. He called us freaks and he called Tasha a dog.
“He said, ‘We don’t let freaks and dogs like you on’.
“He basically grabbed my T-shirt and slammed me backwards.
“I got a bit angry and called him a fascist pig.”
In a separate incident, police were called when the driver, who has not been named, refused to allow other passengers on board after the couple ignored his orders and sat down.
The couple, who live on benefits in a council house and plan to start a family, have been friends for years.
They started going out together in July and became engaged in November.
Paul Adcock, of bus company Arriva Yorkshire, said: “We take any allegations of discrimination seriously.
“Mr Graves has already contacted us directly and as soon as our investigation has concluded we will inform him of the outcome.”
Original title: ‘I’m a human pet’: The Goth teenager whose fiance walks her around on a dog lead