Guide Dog Discrimination
It's Time to End Guide Dog Discrimination
People with Guide Dogs are legally allowed into restaurants & cafés. But new research shows that every week a Guide Dog user in NSW or the ACT is questioned or refused entry.
This type of discrimination can cause humiliation and anxiety, with many Guide Dog users changing their routines by avoiding trouble areas or going out without their Guide Dog.
As highly trained working dogs that provide freedom and independence to people who are blind or vision impaired, Guide Dogs are trained to open-up the world, not close it down, which is effectively what discrimination does.
To address this issue, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has launched a new campaign, 'It's time to end Guide Dog discrimination', on International Guide Dog Day 2015.
How you can help
You can help take a stand against Guide Dog discrimination by sharing this page, video or #lawsforpaws with anyone who you've ever shared a coffee or meal with.
Bart Bunting - A Guide Dog user's experience
For dual Australian paralympic gold medallist Bart Bunting, snow skiing without sight is a breeze compared to trying to enter a restaurant or café with his Guide Dog Chevy.
"Every time it [being refused entry] happens, it totally ruins the enjoyment of the occasion," says Bart, who wishes he didn't have to be prepared to stand up for his rights.
"At the end of the day, I just want to live my life and not have to worry about it. It's slightly annoying being blind, but it's painful to have to have a fight just to have a meal."
A message to restaurant and café owners from James Kidman, Executive Chef, Café Sydney
Interview with Michel McEnearney, Owner, Kitchen by Mike
Facts & Figures
In the last year, 53% of Guide Dog users across NSW and the ACT experienced discrimination, the largest percentage of these instances (40%) occurring within cafes and restaurants.
It's a crime to refuse entry to someone because of their Guide Dog according to the NSW Guide Dog access laws, which have been in place for more than 30 years.
Guide Dogs are legally allowed in any public place, including restaurants and cafes, with the exception of operating theatres and the zoo.
NSW Police officers can issue on-the-spot fines of $165 and penalty notices of up to $880 for refusing entry to a Guide Dog user.
Part of a Guide Dog's training includes teaching them how to behave in a restaurant or café. A Guide Dog will usually sit under the chair or table its user is sitting at so it will not be in the way of staff or other patrons.
A Guide Dog is not a pet dog. It is a highly trained working dog that wears a harness to guide someone who can't see. It's an offence to refuse entry to a Guide Dog team - fines apply.