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Guide Dog Access Rights

By law, Guide Dogs are granted access rights to everywhere their user goes. This means that Guide Dogs can access cafes, restaurants, taxis, retail shops, public transport, sporting and cultural venues, public service providers, and more. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • Operating theatres, and
  • Some areas of the zoo (such as the walk through exhibits).

Puppy in Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere coatUnfortunately not all individuals and businesses are accepting of Guide Dogs. It’s important to remember that if a Guide Dog is refused entry, in effect, so is their Guide Dog user. This is a form of disability discrimination, and it’s against the law. It can be frustrating and humiliating for a person who is blind or vision impaired to be denied entry or asked to leave the premises because they have a Guide Dog.

As the home of Guide Dogs in Western Australia, part of our mission is to advocate for our clients to ensure their rights are protected, by communicating with retailers, business owners, service providers and other members of the community that Guide Dogs can go anywhere.

Community education is the key in this process, to ensure that every member of the community is aware of the rights, legislation and etiquette surrounding Guide Dog access, and to equip people with the knowledge of how and when to stand up and say something if they witness discrimination.

This also goes for our Guide Dogs in training. The only way our puppies can learn how to work in different environments in their career as a Guide Dog is to have exposure to training in a variety of locations and situations as a puppy. A Guide Dog user may encounter issues in certain environments if their dog has not been exposed to these before, which could have serious consequences for both the user and their dog.

What can I do to help?

The best way to help us and our clients is to spread the message: Guide Dogs can go anywhere. Whether that’s liking and sharing us on Facebook, educating local businesses and members of the community about Guide Dogs, or Donating today, you can help us. You can also register a Community Fundraising event to raise awareness and funds to help provide more Guide Dogs to people who need them.

Are you a business owner?

Here are 5 handy tips you can use to make Guide Dogs and their users feel welcome:

  1. Print the ‘Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere’ poster and display it in your window, or contact us to receive a ‘Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere’ sticker.
  2. Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere StickerRemember proper Guide Dog etiquette by speaking to the Guide Dog user directly, not the dog, and never feed, pat or distract a Guide Dog in harness.
  3. Keep your entrance and high traffic areas free of obstacles and spills.
  4. Be prepared to provide verbal information about your products or services, rather than relying solely on signs or visual material.
  5. Address any concerns other customers may have by knowing the relevant legislation.

Which legislation governs Guide Dog and Guide Dog in training access rights?

  • Disability Services Act 1993 (WA)
  • National Disability Services Standards (2014)
  • Disability Services Act 1986 (Commonwealth)
  • Privacy Act 1986 (Commonwealth)
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)
  • Dog Act 1976

The Disability Services Commission can provide more information on access legislation.

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