I was delighted to meet with Guide Dogs Scotland in Westminster this week to support their U.K. campaign to ensure Guide dog owners can Access All Areas.
Recent research conducted by The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (UK) found that over 79% of assistance dog owners have been made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or received a second-class Service because they had their assistance dog with them.
Ignorance of the law is the main challenge. Under the Equality Act, owners of trained assistance dogs are entitled by law to access goods and services without discrimination. However, 76% of assistance dog owners have been refused access in places as varied as shops, restaurants, gyms and hotels.
We need to raise awareness of the fact that this is illegal and enforce the law for breaches of this Act.
As well as meeting guide dog, Dave, I had a good chat with Laura from the West of Scotland and her adorable guide dog, Autumn.