Fighting for a fair deal for guide dog users

Dudley South’s MP, Mike Wood, has supported a campaign to tackle discrimination against guide dog owners at events in Kingswinford and in Parliament organised by the charity Guide Dogs.  

Last Saturday afternoon Mike made a special visit to Townsend Place in Kingswinford, where he met volunteers and assistance dogs to hear about the charity’s amazing work. 

In addition, on Wednesday 19th June, more than a hundred guide dog owners from across the country converged on Westminster Hall in Parliament to share their experiences of being turned away by businesses because of their dog. At the event, the Mike Wood spoke to guide dog owners about the lasting impact of these refusals. 

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 found that three out of four (76%) assistance dog owners had been turned away because of their dog.1  

Guide Dogs are calling for all taxi and minicab drivers to be required to take disability equality training so they are aware of the rights of disabled passengers. Guide Dogs also supports changes to equality legislation to make action against businesses who refuse access easier. 

Mike Wood MP said: “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting volunteers for the Dudley Guide Dogs group last weekend, although it was disturbing to hear how common these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners. 

“No one should be turned away on their local high street because of their assistance dog. 

“I’d like to pay a special thanks to Helen Pritchard of the Guide Dogs charity for all her hard working in raising awareness for this issue locally and for being a fantastic campaigner for the cause.” 

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 their guide dog to get around, businesses that refuse to allow your dog in are effectively slamming the door in your face. 

“Businesses have a responsibility to make sure all their staff welcome assistance dog owners. That’s why we are calling for disability equality training as standard in sectors where refusals are common. We also support an overhaul of equality legislation so that businesses that refuse access face the full consequences of the law.”  

“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting volunteers for the Dudley Guide Dogs group last weekend, although it was disturbing to hear how common these incidents of discrimination are for assistance dog owners."

“No one should be turned away on their local high street because of their assistance dog."

“I’d like to pay a special thanks to Helen Pritchard of the Guide Dogs charity for all her hard working in raising awareness for this issue locally and for being a fantastic campaigner for the cause.”