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 per cent of guide dog owners have been turned away from shops, restaurants and others businesses because of their dogs.
Such instances of access refusal are almost always illegal and 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.
Mr Doogan met guide dog owner Philip at the event and learned more about the charity’s campaign to strengthen the law and requirements for training to prevent access refusals from happening in the first place.
Commenting on the event, Mr Doogan said: “I am delighted to support this important campaign from Guide Dogs.
“Nobody who owns a guide dog should be refused entry to a setting because of their dogs. This is discrimination, and it is a disgrace that this still happens in today’s world.
“I was delighted to meet Phillip and learn more about the challenges guide dog owners face.
“I wholeheartedly back Guide Dogs’ calls to change the law, and look forward to supporting this in whatever way I can in the future.”
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.”
Further information about the charity’s Open Doors campaign and its online petition can be found on its website at www.guidedogs.org.uk, where there is also a link to an app owners can use to help them report access refusals or get support.