Guide Dogs Blog

Guide Dogs Access Campaign

May 28th, 2013

Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere


International Guide Dogs Day - Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere campaign

It’s frustrating and humiliating for a person who is blind or vision impaired to be denied entry or asked to leave premises because they have a Guide Dog. It’s a form of disability discrimination, and it’s against the law.

Despite this, some businesses and service providers in South Australia and the Northern Territory deny access to people with Guide Dogs or people engaged in the training of Guide Dogs, such as Puppy Raisers.

Places where Guide Dog owners encounter access difficulties include cafes, restaurants, taxis, retail outlets, public transport, sporting and cultural venues and public service providers.

As a provider of Guide Dogs in South Australia and the Northern Territory, it’s our job to advocate for our clients, and make sure their rights are protected. That’s why we’re launching a community education campaign to reach retailers, business owners, service providers and members of the community: Guide Dogs can go anywhere.

We need to educate people about the rights, legislation, and etiquette around Guide Dog access. We need to ensure that every member of the community knows that Guide Dogs can go anywhere, and is prepared to stand up and say so if they witness discrimination.

Community attitudes change through education. Help us spread the word: Guide Dogs can go anywhere.

Autism Assistance Dogs Can Go Anywhere

In 2010, Guide Dogs launched an Autism Assistance Dog program, to assist young children with Autism and their families. More information about our Autism Assistance Dog program is available here: http://www.guidedogs.org.au/our-services/guide-dog-services/autism-assistance-dogs.

Autism Assistance Dogs play a critical role in the lives of these families, and have the same access rights as Guide Dogs.

What Can I Do?

- Like our Facebook page and help us spread the word that Guide Dogs and Autism Assistance Dogs can go anywhere.

- Ask local business owners to contact us for an information pack.

- Donate to help us train more Guide Dogs and Autism Assistance Dogs.

Are You a Business Owner?

Here are 5 ways you can make Guide Dogs and Autism Assistance Dogs welcome:
1. Display the ‘Guide Dogs & Service Dogs Welcome’ sticker in your window.
2. Remember to never feed, pat or distract a Guide Dog in harness or Autism Assistance Dog.
3. Keep your entrance and high-traffic areas clear of obstacles.
4. Be prepared to provide verbal information about your product or services.
5. Address any concerns other customers have by knowing the relevant legislation.

What Legislation Governs These Access Rights?

Guide Dog and Autism Assistance Dog access rights are covered by the following legislation

- Disability Discrimination Act, 1992

- Equal Opportunity Act, SA 1984

- Dog and Cat Management Act, SA 1995

For more information, please contact Guide Dogs on 08 8203 8333.

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