Simon Hart MP is helping to raise awareness of discrimination against guide dog owners. He heard that three quarters of assistance dog owners have been turned away from businesses because of their dog – despite it being against the law.
He said: "I was shocked to hear about cases of guide dog owners being turned away by businesses. This isn't just poor customer service; it's discrimination and it's unacceptable. Disabled people have the same rights as anyone else to shop, take a taxi or visit their local pub."
It is illegal to refuse access to a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog except in the most exceptional circumstances.
But the businesses that closed their doors to assistance dog owners included shops, supermarkets, gyms, campsites, places of worship, public transport, taxis and minicabs, pubs and hotels.
James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said: "It's against the law for a business to close their doors to someone because of their assistance dog, but it's still a daily concern for many guide dog owners going about their lives.
"When you rely on your guide dog to get around, leaving the dog outside is not an option. Businesses shouldn't be allowed to make guide dog owners feel like second-class citizens. That's why we're calling for better enforcement of the law, and better staff training in some sectors to stop this discrimination from happening in the first place."
Simon Hart MP
House of Commons
15, St John St
or 0207 219 3000