Shailesh Vara MP recently met local resident Kathryn Lindgren and her guide dog Luna as part of Guide Dogs’ Access All Areas campaign.
More than a hundred guide dog owners from across the country converged in Westminster Hall to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their assistance dog.
It is against the law to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances. Despite this, a new Guide Dogs’ survey has found that three out of four assistance dog owners have been turned away.
Guide Dogs are calling for disability equality training as well as legislative changes to make action against businesses who refuse access easier.
Mr Vara said:
“It was an absolute pleasure to meet Kathryn and Luna but a real concern to hear how prevalent these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners.
No one should be turned away because of their assistance dog and I wholeheartedly support Guide Dogs’ campaign to tackle these refusals and ensure businesses are held accountable when they occur.
Chris Theobald, Public Affairs Manager at Guide Dogs, said:
“The law is very clear that assistance dog owners have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local restaurant.
Despite this, our survey shows assistance dog owners face refusals on a regular basis. When you rely on a guide dog to get around, businesses that refuse to allow your dog in are effectively slamming the door in your face.
Photo: Shailesh Vara MP with Kathryn Lindgren and her guide dog Luna.