|I was pleased to support the Guide Dogs’ Open Door Campaign in Parliament recently.
Recent research conducted by Guide Dogs found that 81% of guide dog owners have been refused access to a restaurant, shop, or taxi at some point because they were with their dog. And of these people, almost three in four (73%) said they experienced an access refusal at least once in the past 12 months. These refusals have a significant negative impact on the confidence, independence and wellbeing of people who have guide dogs.
Guide Dogs’ launched their Open Doors campaign which aims to raise awareness of the rights assistance dog owners have, and the need for better enforcement and clearer laws.
At the event I met guide dog owners who told me their experiences of being illegally turned away because they had their guide dog with them.
Guide dog owners have the right to live their lives the way they want and feel confident, independent, and supported in the world. The law is clear, and yet guide dog owners continue to experience access refusals, which are almost always illegal.
I would like to see the law strengthened on access rights for assistance dogs, to prevent access refusals and to open doors for guide dogs.