100 guide dog owners, including Ash resident, Patricia Poole, and her guide dog, Zebedee, converged on Parliament on Wednesday to share experiences of being turned away by businesses.
Taxis were perceived to be the worst offenders for refusing business, with some restaurants also turning guide dogs away.
Three out of four assistance dog owners have been refused access because of their dog. Guide dogs are campaigning for changes to the law to tackle this discrimination.
Ms Poole’s MP, Craig Mackinlay, was on hand to lend his support.
Craig Mackinlay MP commented:
“I welcome the work that Patricia and the Guide Dogs are undertaking to raise awareness of the rights of guide dog owners and of the confidence-damaging discrimination that many blind and partially-sighted people so often face.
“Everyone deserves the right to access services freely and with dignity and the Equality Act 2010 makes clear the duties of all people to permit guide dogs without any hindrance.
“It was lovely to catch up with Patricia again and support her efforts to raise awareness of the rights of guide dog owners and the challenges they face.”
Patricia Poole said:
“Everybody should be aware of their obligations under the law. Our dogs are so well trained they will never cause disturbance or make a mess.”