It’s something most of us dog owners don’t need to think about – if we want to go somewhere with our dog then we sort out the transport accordingly.
But if you can’t go out without your dog, then the need for simple reliable transport for both of you becomes imperative.
As far as I knew, Guide Dogs are allowed everywhere – even places that don’t admit dogs say yes to a Guide Dog. And so they should, obviously.
So how is it then that a blind friend of mine was refused a taxi home from the station last week because she had her Guide Dog with her? I couldn’t believe it when she commented on Facebook, but she was resigned more than angry – apparently it happens quite a lot, and she’ll have to wait at the taxi rank, working through 4 or 5 taxis before she finds one that will take her and Sammy too.
It’s not only unacceptable – it’s completely illegal!
The charity Guide Dogs believes the penalties issued to taxi and minicab drivers, who flout the law and refuse to take assistance dogs, are woefully inadequate. Research from Guide Dogs showed that prosecutions are rare and fines are low, with some local authorities reporting fines as low as £50 to £100.
On the 25th May more than 100 guide dog owners visited parliament to call for tougher sentences for taxi and minicab drivers who turn away assistance dog owners.
Taxi and minicab drivers who refuse to take a guide dog can have their licence removed or be fined up to £1,000 (plus costs) in court. However, the penalties are no higher than those given to people who dodge train fares or evade TV licences.
Guide Dogs wants this discrimination to end. So the good folks at Don’t Panic have teamed up with the charity to create this comedy video to raise public awareness of the problem and support the call for change.
Please watch and share this video to encourage people to join the campaign and help stop taxi and cab drivers illegally refusing fares from people with sight loss because they’re with their guide dog.