Service Dogs Act for a decade: public spaces still refuse the dogs

August 19, 2012

Since the Law Concerning Assistance Dogs for the Disabled to promote the use of the service dog which helps a person with disability was enforced, it has been ten years this year.

The assistance dog law has imposed a duty of acceptance of an assistance dog upon a public facility, a public transportation facility and commercial establishment, a restaurant, etc. The training system of a high quality assistance dog is also mentioned in the law.

After it was issued, more persons, accompanied by the dog, came to enjoy going out or dining out in a restaurant or a hotel.

However, one thing is worrisome, that is, some cases are seen that the person with the service dog is still declined to enter the public space.

The Japanese Partner Dog Users Group asked ten members about such an experience. They answered that they encountered refusal 25 times in one year and a half since 2009. The reasons why they were declined were: "Your dog disturbs our customers," "There is a health top problem," etc.

Especially, a hearing dog is mostly a small dog and mixed breeds, and is not easily distinguish from a general pet. Even if it becomes troublesome to other visitors, the Deaf users may be unable to explain well about why they need a hearing dog.

The assistance dog is well trained so that it may not hurt people or disturb them. The government should direct a public space or a store again in order to prevent them from refusing the person and the service dog.

While there are 1,143 assistance dogs, the number of a seeing eye dog dominates 90 percent (1,043), there are 62 partner dogs and only 38 hearing dogs.

It is because either a partner dog or a hearing dog is not fully known by other person with disability compared with a seeing eye dog.

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