On Wednesday 25th May 2016 Dawn Butler MP hosted the charity Guide Dogs in the Houses of Parliament along with 120 guide dog owners to hear about their experiences of being turned away by businesses.
According to the law, guide dog owners are allowed the same access to shops, restaurants and taxis as everyone else. Yet, all too often, guide dog owners are told that their dog is not welcome and not allowed in. In fact, three out of every four guide dog owners has been turned away from a taxi, business or service because of their dog.
Ms Butler is supporting Guide Dogs’ call for disability equality training, and for offenders to be properly punished under the law when they illegally discriminate against guide dog owners.
Dawn Butler MP said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome the charity Guide Dogs to the Houses of Parliament. It is deeply concerning to hear that 3 out of 4 guide dog owners have been refused access and I believe much more must be done to tackle this growing problem. That is why I have now asked the Secretary of State for Justice to introduce tough new sentencing guidelines where private hire drivers refuse transport to people with a guide dog.”
James White, Senior Advocacy Manager for Guide Dogs, said:
“Guide dog owners rely on their dogs to feel confident and supported. Being turned away by a business leaves people feeling angry, upset and embarrassed. It can rob people of their independence and can leave them unable to do everyday activities.”
“Despite the law being clear on this issue, guide dog owners are still experiencing this form of discrimination every day and this needs to change.”