Guide and Assistance Dogs are allowed access to everywhere their handler goes – and this includes dogs in training.
Under the Dog Act 1976 – Section 8, it is an offence to refuse entry to a person accompanied by a Guide or Assistance Dog including dogs in training; the only exceptions to this rule are operating theatres and some areas of zoos (such as the walk-through exhibits).
Section 8 of The Dog Act 1976 (opens in new window) defines an Assistance Dog as one:
“that is trained or is being trained by a representative of an organisation
that is prescribed for the purposes of this definition”
Section 8 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (opens in new window) provides that to refuse a Guide or Assistance Dog, effectively, discriminates against a person with a disability.
How To Identify Guide Dogs & Autism Assistance Dogs
Guide Dogs and those in training are easy to recognise. A white harness indicates that the Guide Dog is working with their owner. A brown harness indicates that the dog is in training with a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. An orange “puppy-in-training” coat indicates that the Guide Dog puppy is learning how to behave in a range of environments.
Are You a Business Owner?
Here are 5 handy tips you can use to make Guide Dog handlers feel welcome:
- Print the ‘Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere’ poster and display it in your window to show support. Or contact us to receive a ‘Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere’ sticker.
- Always speak to the Guide Dog user directly, not the dog. Never feed, pat or distract a Guide Dog in harness.
- Keep your entrance and high traffic areas free of obstacles or spills.
- Offer verbal information about your products or services. Don’t rely solely on signs or visual information.
- 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.