Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster showed support for the rights of guide dog owners at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Guide Dogs.
Guide dogs are key for many people with sight loss to getting around independently, but research from the charity Guide Dogs has shown that 81% of guide dog owners have been turned away from shops, restaurants and others businesses because of their dogs.
This discrimination can be humiliating and debilitating, with almost half of guide dog owners saying they have changed their plans or restrict visits to avoid being refused. Kevin heard first hand of the impact of these experiences from Joel, who lives in Torquay and is campaigning with Guide Dogs to strengthen the law and requirements for training to prevent access refusals from happening in the first place.
Commenting on the event, Kevin Foster MP said:
“Hearing the experiences of those like Joel who have experienced discrimination and access refusals brings home the impact of this issue. There needs to be better training about the law and simpler methods to enforce it against those who ignore the rights of their disabled customers.”
Eleanor Briggs, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs, said: “Guide dog owners deserve to be able to live the lives they want and feel confident, independent, and supported in the world. However, too many guide dog owners continue to face discrimination and are turned away because they have their guide dog with them. That’s why we are calling for action to strengthen the law to end this unacceptable discrimination.”
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