South Yorkshire MP John Healey has called for an end to the ‘shocking discrimination’ against guide dog owners.
Mr Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, met Barnsley guide dog owner Steve Waller, and his dog Evie, in the Houses of Parliament recently - along with over 100 guide dogs from all over the country - to discuss their experiences and highlight the issue.
According to the charity Guide Dogs, three quarters of guide dog owners have been refused service in shops, restaurants and taxis.
Mr Healey said: “It is unacceptable and illegal for businesses to turn away customers simply because they have a guide dog with them. I fully support Guide Dogs’ efforts in bringing this important issue to the attention of MPs and the public and we must do whatever we can make sure business owners understand and obey the law.”
The MP pledged his support for the charity’s ‘Access All Areas’ campaign to ensure guide dog owners can carry out everyday activities without the risk of being turned away. Mr Healey also called for offenders to be properly punished under the law. when they illegally discriminate against guide dog owners.
James White, Senior Advocacy Manager for Guide Dogs, said “Guide dog owners rely on their dogs to feel confident and supported. Being turned away by a business can rob people of their independence.”