Monday, 13 March 2017

Assistance dog owner subject to abuse...

Tokoroa's Roger Drower with his disability dog Harper.
A partially deaf Tokoroa man is calling for more acceptance and understanding of people with disability dogs following ongoing abuse from strangers.

A South Waikato District Council bylaw prevents dogs from being taken into South Waikato towns but Roger Drower has special permission to do so with Harper, his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Despite having permission it doesn't stop some people from having a go, which he says is often worse for men.

"[I've been told] I shouldn't show that I have a disability because I am a male," he said.  "There needs to be greater understanding that males do have disabilities as well and may need a disability dog.  "I find it hard to hear in crowds or with background noise around me. Hearing aids just amplify everything, including the background noise, not just the people talking.  "So having Harper means I have a greater sense of security and I am less reliant on my wife and young children."

Drower said people also needed to be aware that disability dogs could be taken wherever their owners go.  "As helping professionals they have special privileges and right of access under the Government Dog Control Amendment Act 2006. They are also protected from discrimination under the Human right Act 1993.  "There are six organisations in New Zealand that can certify dogs for legal public access which means the dog can go with the owner into areas where most dogs can't."

He said that included places that served food, retail shops, doctors, hospitals, libraries, courthouses supermarkets, and even the movies.  Public transport such as buses, ferries, taxis, planes, ships and trains were also not of limits.  "Denying us is a serious offence."

More here in the USA.

ATR Comment: We do not believe deaf people need assistance dogs, but are aware animal lovers,  (especially dog owners), will insist otherwise.  One suspects opposition to hearing dogs for the deaf is based on the fact they do not appear to be assisting owners as dogs for the blind do.  Do deaf REALLY need a dog to go shopping,  and traverse the streets ?  ATR's experience, is that dogs provide poor sign or verbal interactions and yet to hold meaningful interpretation skills.


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